Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Labour Force Survey show, that the HGV driver shortage to still be a major concern across the UK. The shortage has been caused by a variety of factors including:
- No tests taking place due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- An ageing workforce and lack of overall diversity within the industry
Recently the Road Haulage Association (RHA) stated that the main reason was due to the retirement of workers. The average age of an HGV driver in the UK is 55, therefore, around 150,000 drivers are close and expected to retire within the next 10 years. Furthermore, reports show that women make up less than 1% of HGV drivers with only 3% of under 25-year-olds.
Moreover, reports show that 13.5% of drivers were made up of EU nationals. However, when Brexit was enforced, 79,000 workers were made to leave the UK. This equated to a reduction of UK HGV drivers by 10%. Although this being said, statistics have shown a slight improvement in comparison to previous quarters.
HGV Shortages Improve
Business group Logistics UK has predicted that this small improvement could be due to the initiatives introduced by the government. The UK Government has outlined a 33-point action plan to further reduce the HGV driver shortage including:
- Increasing efficiency in existing supply chains
- Providing support and training for new HGV drivers
- Expanding HGV driver testing capacity and improving licencing processes
- Attracting drivers back to the sector and improving conditions
- Ensuring the stability of the fuel supply chain
- Economic measures to support the haulage industry
Sarah Watkins, Deputy Director at Logistics UK comments, “Government and industry have worked hard to address the key issues which have affected the recruitment of HGV drivers in the past. The reduction in numbers of HGV drivers in employment, generally caused by retirements or shifts into other careers, slowed in the first quarter of 2022, compared with the second half of 2021, which illustrates how actions such as increased wages for drivers, drivers’ skills bootcamps and improved throughputs of testing by DVSA are beginning to address the loss of skilled workers which we have seen in the recent past.”
What The Figures Show
In the first quarter of 2022, HGV drivers in employment were estimated to have fallen by 30,000. Although still significant, it is less of a reduction than in Q3 and Q4 2021. Data from the DVSA shows that there were 26,388 practical HGV tests conducted in Q1 2022. This is an increase of 43% compared to the same period in 2019. Additionally, March 2022, has seen a record number of tests undertaken (10,481) with a pass rate of 60%.
Other incentives that could be behind the improvement of HGV driver shortages include, pay increases. This was offered to help retain existing staff and attract new drivers to higher wages. The salaries advertised have increased by an average of 25% in Q1 2022 compared with a year ago. Furthermore, HGV drivers claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell by 70% from Q1 2019 to Q1 2022.
“Such a large increase in the number of HGV tests being undertaken is testament to the work being done by DVSA to address its testing backlog, alongside the industry’s commitment to encourage new recruits to join the industry.”
React To Rising Demand With Mac’s Truck Rental
Although there seem to be positive steps toward the recovery of the HGV sector, attracting and retaining drivers is still a high priority. Therefore, it is still important for initiatives to continue to maintain and attract new recruits.
As the HGV shortage begins to reduce, you could be increasing your employment. Taking full advantage of the newly qualified drivers and increased interest from existing drivers. If your company is employing more truckers and expanding your fleet Mac’s Truck Rental can help.
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