Record number of female train drivers in Scotland

Mandy McEnhill, Scotrail driver based at Inverness.

According to figures released on International Women’s Day (8 March 2020), there are now more female train drivers on Scotland’s Railway than ever before.

 The number of female train drivers has increased by 39 per cent since 2017, rising from 56 to 78, while the number of female conductors employed by ScotRail has also risen since 2017, from 139 to 162 – a 16 per cent increase.

ScotRail credits the rise to a number of initiatives, including:

  • Using graduate, apprentice, and intern programmes to attract more women into our business.
  • Promoting the role of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) jobs, through school visits.
  • Continuing to monitor pay to ensure there is no bias towards either gender during recruitment or throughout employment with ScotRail.
  • Regularly reviewing HR policies and processes to ensure that people have the opportunity to work in a way that works best for them, their career aspirations, and their home life.

However, it’s not all good news for those seeking gender parity. Despite the rise in female train drivers and conductors, only 21 per cent of ScotRail employees are female – something that the train operator is working hard to change.

Throughout 2020, the train operator plans to run a number of dedicated recruitment programmes to encourage even more women, as well as people from ethnic minorities, to join its driver, engineering and technical roles across Scotland.

 Working together with ASLEF, the train-drivers’ trade union, Scotrail will run a two in ten in twenty campaign, aiming to hire two female train drivers from every ten successful candidates throughout 2020.

Marie-Therese Weighton, Scotrail.

ScotRail’s head of people services Marie-Therese Weighton said: “The railway industry has historically been very male-dominated, and we’re working hard to change that.

“Though it’s encouraging to see an increase in number of female drivers and conductors on our trains, with only 21 per cent of our workforce being female, we need to see more women join the railway.

“We’re absolutely committed to developing a workforce as diverse as the communities it serves. That’s why throughout this year, we’ll be running a series of dedicated recruitment programmes to encourage even more women to consider a career with ScotRail – we’re aiming to employ two female train drivers from every ten successful candidates in 2020.”

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