TACKLING DRIVER SHORTAGES
For a number of years now the UK’s haulage industry has seen a steady decline in the number of HGV drivers available, with those retiring or pursuing alternative careers outnumbering those entering the industry.
Additionally, of those who have a career in the industry, the average age is currently 53 with only two percent of drivers under 25. These statistics highlight the need to attract new talent to the industry in order to keep the natural progression within the workforce running smoothly.
It’s clear that many young employees who may have traditionally chosen the haulage and logistics industry aren’t now doing so. Some of the off putting elements are the industry’s associations with lifting and moving objects as well as a lack of a metaphorical job ladder to climb. Once these are combined with the negative press surrounding the industry’s high work rates due to driver shortages, there is a clear hurdle to be overcome.
The good news is that action is now being taken to tackle these issues, however attracting new talent isn’t easy. HGV licence applications have dropped by more than 32,000 in the past five years which can be accredited to several reasons, including: the cost of licence acquisition, lack of understanding of the industry and poor industry image.
We believe there is a need to better highlight the benefits of working in an industry that is so crucial to the UK economy. The Road Haulage Association (RHA), Freight Transport Association (FTA), The Chartered Institute of logistics and transport and the Government have all acknowledged the issues and initiatives are now being put in place to tackle the problem.
All have similarly pledged to campaign for changes to help combat the shortage: including, funding for vocational training, better driver facilities, quicker turnaround of medical queries by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and a campaign to raise awareness of the logistics sector.
Alongside this The Recruitment & Employment Federation (REC) have also spoken out on the issue. The REC have highlighted the impact that a driver shortage is having on the productivity of the UK economy; the importance of the recruitment industry in solving driver shortages; and called on the government to take urgent action in regards to those issues raised above.
With a concerted effort by all relevant bodies to tackle the apparent issues it is hoped the HGV driver shortage can be effectively and efficiently managed and be kept from bringing many industries that rely on the deliveries to a literal grinding halt.
For our own part, we are in support of the actions taken by the industry bodies and are also working on a programme of attracting more people to the sector. This ranges from raising the industry profile at a local branch level, to attending and recruiting at popular events such as Truckfest. We are also working with organisations such as the armed forces, whose personnel share many of the common skill sets needed in drivers such as being organised, punctual and responsible.
With a cohesive and positive approach we’re confident the industry will once again attract the right people to help it continue to deliver on its customer’s promises.