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Public perception of driving jobs outdated

By: William Hobson
04 November 2010

The public's perception of those in driving jobs is still coloured by outdated stereotypes, according to a new survey by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles commissioned research into the traditional perception of the overweight, rude "white van man" stereotype surrounding driving work in the UK. They found that this stereotype, if it was ever applicable, has entirely failed to keep up with the modern reality of driver recruitment practices.

Although it is inarguable that at one point driving jobs were almost exclusively male, Volkswagen's research indicates that today more than a third of commercial vehicle operators are female; "White van man" is increasingly "white van woman".

Furthermore the old, familiar stereotypes that van drivers eat an unhealthy diet, don't care to exercise and are generally ill-informed were also revealed to be entirely baseless. 65% of those questioned took some form of frequent exercise, particularly among older drivers - 70% of those over 55% exercised regularly. A third of the overall number even exercised more than three times a week - and the idea that driver subsist on pasties, pies and crisps was knocked by the 40% who said they preferred a salad or some fruit whilst on the road.

The notion that commercial driver's don't have an active mind was also exploded, with 80% of respondents saying they followed the news agenda and kept abreast of current affairs. Drivers are also increasingly tech-savvy, with 72% using a laptop on rest break, 57% owning a smartphone and a surprising 60% regularly using a social network such as Twitter or Facebook.

"Our research looked to challenge some of the more outdated perceptions of modern van drivers and it certainly has," said David George, head of marketing for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.


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