Love driving? Well perhaps you should consider a career as a taxi driver. Addison Lee, Europe’s largest minicab company, has partnered up with Women 1st, an organisation that addresses the lack of women in key industries, to get more women cab drivers on the roads. Could this male-dominated industry be about to change?
With flexible working hours and the opportunity to be your own boss, should you be considering it as a career?
We spoke to Catherine Faiers, the Chief Operating Officer of Addison Lee, to find out more.
1. Tell us about your initiative to get more women into cab driving?
The initiative is one of many we currently have operating across our driver recruitment team here at Addison Lee. We pride ourselves on having a diverse team of drivers from many different backgrounds operating within our fleet across the Capital, and encouraging more female drivers to take up jobs in the private hire industry plays an important role within the programme. We’ve had 20 new female drivers join us in the last 12 months alone, and we plan to welcome more in the near future!
2. Why are there fewer female cab drivers than men?
I think, quite simply, it’s because the job role has been more associated and popular with men in times gone by. However, we are seeing a change across the industry now, as interest from females to take up cab driving is higher than it used to be. We have driven this change by encouraging drivers to view the role as a profession and by rolling out driver qualifications and promoting driver development in the industry.
3. What are the benefits of working in the car services industry?
The key benefit is flexibility and the ability to be your own boss. Our drivers determine when and how they work. They can manage their workload around family or other commitments.
4. How did you get into the industry?
I had worked in the travel industry for a number of years and always found the logistics challenge within the private hire industry fascinating. Connecting thousands of customers with driver’s in real time in the most efficient way. Technology was a real enabler to solve this challenge and has meant that the industry has been undergoing a period of rapid change.
I also found the diversity within the industry appealing. Our business is centered around people – customers and drivers and connecting these people every day with completely different backgrounds and experiences.
5. What would your advice be to people wanting a career in car services?
I would say just go for it and apply for a role that you think you’ll be suited to. It’s a really exciting and fast-paced industry to work in, and I’d strongly recommend it to any ambitious individual looking for a challenging and fulfilling career move. We’re always keen to hear from prospective applicants at Addison Lee, and they can get in contact with us via the website.
Bozena, female driver at Addison Lee
We also wanted to get the perspective of a female cab driver. Bozena has been a driver with Addison Lee for 4 years now.
1. How did you get into your job? Talk us through your career journey
I have always been mad about driving. Before moving to England, I enjoyed a stint as a train engineer in Poland and I have also raced motorbikes at Silverstone and Brands Hatch. When I moved over to England, becoming a full-time mini cab driver appealed to me in many ways. It’s a flexible lifestyle and I also find driving for a living very relaxing! To become a credited driver at Addison Lee, I studied hard to pass the rigorous drivers’ knowledge test and became one of the few female drivers in the entire private hire vehicle industry.
2. Why is cab driving a good job for women?
It’s a really varied job and I meet a lot of new people out on the road, which is a real perk of the role for me! Addison Lee is a great company to work for; they really look after their drivers and put them first. It can also be really flexible, meaning you do the hours that are best suited to you.
3. What would your advice be to people wanting to get into the industry?
It’s a straightforward process to become a driver with Addison Lee, providing you have the necessary documentation in place and demonstrate the necessary skills. So my advice would be to apply straightaway if it’s a job role that really interests you. There aren’t many female cab drivers in the UK, and that fact does come in handy when a woman is requested for a fare pick-up. For me, London is one of the greatest cities in the world, so being able to travel across the city on a daily basis and share my city knowledge with customers is just one of the many parts of the job I really enjoy!