Females in the Fleet: tackling the gender imbalance in the transportation industry

Kimberly Hurd
CRO
Collective Benefits

The private hire and taxi industry is male dominated, with very few women working in the industry. Despite the fact that it provides a wealth of benefits for women, many choose other lines of work. In fact, only 7% of the private hire and taxi industry are female

Females in the Fleet 

To kick off International Women’s Month, Kimberly Hurd, CRO at Collective Benefits, hosted a webinar on ‘Females in the Fleet’, speaking with AAA Taxis’ Head of Operations, Rachel Dale, to discuss the gender composition of the private hire and taxi industry. They covered how companies such as AAA Taxis are combating the gender imbalance and ensuring the industry becomes more inclusive, as well as  how women can mark their place in leadership roles in the fleet services.

AAA taxis are one of our partners - joining other pioneering companies in protecting their drivers with accidental death, accident and sickness insurance as well as family and compassionate leave. AAA taxis really understand the problem of the gender gap in the industry, and, as we found out, are running multiple initiatives to close it. 

What is the current state of the taxi industry? 

The pandemic has had a major impact on all industries; the private hire and taxi industry being no exception. In March 2020, when the world was told to ‘stay at home’, drivers were forced to find employment elsewhere to earn a living. When the UK reopened, only 50% of the drivers needed were available to work. 

There is clearly a huge gap for women to enter the industry, and they could, in fact, be an untapped resource which could help with the industry’s hiring problems. There’s also a consumer need for more female drivers; women take on average 20% more trips than men, and many feel safer being driven by another woman.  

What does the private hire and taxi industry offer women?

Rachel has been part of this amazing industry for almost 10 years. She’s passionate about getting more women into the fleets as it has so much to offer women; as a testament to this, both her and AAA Taxis’ Director Barry have daughters in the business. 

A key draw of the private hire and taxi industry for women is the flexibility of the work. Women are able to choose the times and locations they work; factors which may be a barrier for women in other industries who, for example, want to return to work after having children. 

In other self-employed sectors men earn 43% more than women. However, the pay gap is non-existent in this line of work. Rachel explained the taxi industry treats its workers fairly, and with 24/7 service, drivers can decide themselves how much they would like to work - and therefore earn. 

Safety is also a - surprising - plus. A lot of women are apprehensive when it comes to keeping safe in the transportation industry, but Rachel described the many steps taken to keep people safe. At AAA taxis, these include vehicle tracking and constant communication with drivers, emergency buttons and cameras in vehicles, phone calls to drivers being recorded, systems that allow drivers to only get jobs from certain areas, and drivers having passenger assistants. 

Rachel also noted that collaborating is another great part of the industry. AAA Taxis has partnered with the Rosie May Foundation and companies such as Safety As A Standard which helps train employees about safety. The collaborative nature of the company really brings a family feel to all involved. 

It is more important than ever to #BreakTheBias in the transportation and mobility industry, and it is companies such as AAA Taxis that are making this happen. 

What can be done to attract more women into the fleet? 

The private hire and taxi industry is incredibly important to everyone. Rachel believes that they are essentially the 4th emergency service, with the amount of help they bring to people by driving them when they are needed. Services such as special education transport are suffering in the current climate and need desperate attention. 

It is more important than ever to #BreakTheBias in the transportation and mobility industry, and it is companies such as AAA Taxis that are making this happen. 

Every month, AAA Taxis runs courses that train 25 new drivers and they support with any legal help that drivers may need, along with their DBS checks and insurance. These courses have had a 40% uptake in attendees since the pandemic hit - a testament to the good work the firm is doing in an industry plagued by underrepresentation and recruitment pressures.

They also provide full 24/7 support and mentoring, training on sexual harassment, first aid, safeguarding, gdpr, money laundering and access to legal advice.  

The company also is going to start employing workers on a contract basis and providing vehicles to reassure them that it’s a secure career choice and, in some cases, pay suitable candidates to complete the application process.

As well as this, AAA Taxis provides protections and benefits through Collective Benefits. It’s clear to see that these protections and benefits are vital in an industry that so many have left due to a lack of support. Providing insurance can help to reassure prospective drivers, increase retention and improve driver-fleet relations. 

These measures fit into the ‘AAA family’ philosophy, a phrase that was coined when Covid-19 first hit. Rachel highlighted that she sees drivers as the key to their success, and wants them to feel as important as they are.  

Learn more

A huge thank you to Rachel for sharing her insights and knowledge on the industry. If you want to read more about how Rachel is working to #breakthebias in the taxi industry, you can read her article in PHTM magazine here, or get in touch with her at fitf@aaataxis.com


If you’d like to speak to Kimberly about how Collective Benefits can help protect your workers, get in touch here.

March 7, 2022