A growing shortage of drivers in the haulage industry
With two-thirds of the HGV driving workforce over 45 years old, the shortage of drivers in this industry is only going to increase as the ageing workforce retires.
The HGV driving industry has always been difficult to recruit for and Manpower UK found it was the third most challenging sector to find talent in. As a result, there is a shortage of over 45,000 drivers in the haulage industry, a figure that will continue to rise if drastic measures aren’t taken.
Fewer and fewer people are choosing HGV driving as a career which means that just 7% of people in this industry are 25 or younger. In the future as older drivers retire, not enough younger talent will be there to meet the demand for drivers.
Demand is where the shortage will soon start to be glaringly obvious. In a recent study it was found that 93% of women and 86% of men shop online and both expect their delivery within 48 hours. To meet this expectation, more drivers will be needed to distribute from warehouses across the country and at the moment there simply isn’t enough manpower for this.
Why aren’t more people becoming HGV drivers?
Currently, it costs between £3,000 and £5,000 to obtain the right licence to drive a Heavy Goods Vehicle. Such a significant amount can prevent many people from gaining this essential qualification. The recent implementation of the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence puts added regulations and pressures on drivers, which has resulted in many people taking earlier retirement.
Similarly, little is done to promote the positive side of the haulage industry with the public perception seeing the inconvenience of HGVs on the road and the less glamorous side of the job. To encourage more people into this industry, things have to change.
Attracting drivers into haulage
Seeing the shortage already there and attempting to close the gap, the Freight Transport Association have launched their skills event to attract talent in this industry and show them the opportunities there are.
They’ve also launched a campaign to attract drivers to this industry in association with the Department for Work and Pensions Senior Business Manager, Alex Farkas. He said of the campaign, "the Department looks forward to working with the industry to help it engage with our Jobcentre Plus candidates and promote how Universal Credit can help companies overcome recruitment issues.”
Events like this are making great efforts to market the haulage industry in a more positive way to change perceptions and encourage younger drivers into this field. In conjunction with this, the association are calling for the government to do their part in ensuring that no barriers are put in that could deter people from becoming a HGV driver.
They want the process of obtaining a licence to be more efficient and are pushing for loans, similar to student loans, which would help keen drivers pay for their training with government support. Even keeping lay-bys open and working to improve facilities at all service stations should help to encourage more people into the exciting career that is HGV driving.
It is important that companies, associations and people get behind the push for more drivers to work in the haulage industry. At the moment, £200 million worth of wages are being taken to foreign countries rather than going back into the UK’s economy through taxation and general spending.
If you’re interested in HGV driving, have a look at our latest vacancies here.