Women driver recruitment

Diversity and inclusion are pivotal for any modern business to succeed.

Transport has been a traditionally male-dominated sector, and we are working to change this within our Head Office and devolved bus and rail operating companies.

Shirley Connell and Stephanie Young 15 flipped.jpgSouthern, part of the Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) brand, saw 30% of trainee driver roles taken by women in 2018. This was an increase from 18% in 2017. GTR’s overarching target is that by 2021, at least 40% of applicants for train driver roles will be female. Considering that female train drivers accounted for only 5.1% of Southern’s workforce in 2018, this is a significant step-change in promoting diversity.

To drive recruitment, GTR has attended careers events and implemented targeted recruitment campaigns to encourage more female applicants. One collaboration with the website Mumsnet was particularly successful. Trainee Train Driver adverts placed on the site generated the largest number of applications since the company launched its job portal. 

While recruitment is essential to changing the industry, we must also retain and empower our current female workforce. Both GTR and Southeastern have created women’s groups to provide support. These groups are integral to creating an inclusive atmosphere and championing women in the organisation to succeed and grow.

Goahead0571.jpgWe are also working to improve the representation of women bus drivers. We have approximately 1,500 female bus colleagues – equating for roughly 11% of our bus workforce. We are aiming to increase this number to 20% by 2025. Women in Go-Ahead bus operations are supported by the "Women in Bus" network that aims to empower our female colleagues.

Brighton & Hove Buses launched a “Women behind the Wheel” campaign in 2019 with the intention to recruit more female drivers. It has hosted recruitment events that give women the opportunity to get into the driver’s cab and find out what it’s like to be a driver from the bus drivers themselves.

While we recognise there is a way to go to becoming a fully diverse workforce, we are committed to being the instigators of change and seeing a greater gender balance among bus and train drivers.