This year marks the 25th anniversary of the SNCB hiring its first female train driver. This milestone was achieved through the adoption of a law in Belgium authorizing night work for women under the same conditions as men. Today, the SNCB employs 180 female train drivers, a number that continues to grow each year. In various rail professions, the proportion of women has significantly increased in recent years, with one in five SNCB employees now being female. A decade ago, in 2013, they accounted for only one in ten.

Yvette Pons, hailing from Liège, was the very first female train driver in our country. Joining the SNCB in April 1998, she operated her first train after completing training in July 1999. A quarter of a century later and after several years of driving, Yvette has expanded her skills and now works as a technician at the Salzinnes workshop in the province of Namur.

Stefanie Berat, another pioneer among female train drivers, joined the SNCB in 1999. Originally from Ghent, she became the first female train driver in her region.

Discover Yvette and Stefanie's story in the video below (in french)

From pioneers... to 180 female train drivers

The SNCB currently has 180 female train drivers, representing only 6% of the total number of drivers. However, the number of women choosing this profession continues to increase. A decade ago, for example, only 3% of train drivers were women. The proportion of female train drivers will continue to rise in the coming years, with 10% of the 150 train drivers currently in training being female.

Becoming a female train driver doesn't happen in a classroom: candidates undergo intensive and paid training at the SNCB for 10 to 12 months, with both theoretical and practical lessons, including training on a driving simulator.

Diversity within the workforce

In recent years, the proportion of women at the SNCB has increased among train drivers and in other professions. Out of 17,000 staff members at the SNCB, one in five is now a woman. A decade ago, in 2013, they made up only one in ten. Among the new colleagues recruited in 2022, one in four was a woman.

This is the result of an inclusive diversity policy. For years, the SNCB has been committed to reflecting the diversity of society – and thus its passengers on board – among its staff. The SNCB, along with several other European railway operators, has signed the ambitious Women In Rail agreement, aiming to make the railway sector more attractive to women, among other goals.

Diversity is also evident in different age groups. Among all new hires last year, 28% were under 26 years old, while 11% were over 50.

1,600 job offers in 2023

In 2023, the SNCB is looking for 1,600 new colleagues (M/F/X), primarily for operational roles. This includes 500 technicians, 350 train attendants, 180 train drivers, 150 security agents for Securail, and around a hundred job offers for other profiles, mainly in stations (assistant station masters, commercial agents) or for customer service.

There are also job offers for architects and construction industry profiles (such as site supervisors) or for lesser-known and less visible railway jobs found in the vast parking areas where trains are prepared before departure.

Suitable candidates have already been selected for over 630 positions out of the 1,600 available. More than half of them have already joined the teams.

For more information on various SNCB professions, visit