At the end of July the Transport Committee released a report about the forgoing HGV shortage in the UK – and the numbers are staggering!
They have reported a shortage of 45,000-60,000 drivers, leaving 91% of companies having issues with staffing. It is clear we have a huge problem on our hands. However the stats get worse as it has been reported that due to the vast majority of drivers being over 45 another 40,000 drivers are set to leave the industry by 2017 due to retirement.
So why is there such a shortage in drivers?
- People don’t want to work within the industry
The HGV driver career has always taken a bashing in the public eye. Health issues and long hours are just two reasons that people turn down the chance to work as a HGV driver. Yet there are many positive reasons that are often left out. Salaries start from £20,000 and can reach £29,000, this career is definitely undervalued. Continual training and development are also part of the HGV career journey, giving many drivers opportunities to progress their skills and earn a better wage.
- Older White males dominate industry
92% of CPC and LGV licences are attained by men.
Only 3% of HGV drivers have a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background.
60% of LGV drivers are 45 years old or older and only 1% of LGV drivers are under 25. This misbalance is causing more driver to retire and not enough beginning their career.
- Cost of licence acquisition.
The cost of obtaining a licence can put many people off even though the top earning salaries would pay back the initial costs. There are also new schemes (Trailblazer for example) being introduced that help pay for the expense, giving young apprentices more of a chance to start learning the trade.
How can we change the industry to resolve these problems?
Unfortunately, the haulage industry is lacking the funds it needs to give drivers the necessary skills, leading the industry to ask the Government for help. However the Government believe the problem lies in the industry’s hands, as it is their business to end the negative stigma around the profession.
Louise Ellman MP who is Chair of the Transport Committee suggests that both parties need to unite in order to end the issue: “the industry and Government need to get their heads together and come up with a plan which focuses on recruitment and retention”.
Louise also states that she wants to increase diversity within the HGV drivers by calling out to more women and ethnicities to join the haulage industry.
But will this be enough?
Groups such as Freight Transport Association (FTA) are just one example of campaigners that are trying their best to solve this crisis. They have campaigns for several schemes to address the issue, such as the Trailblazer Apprenticeship, which help young apprentice drivers learn the necessary skills they require by receiving money from the Government. They also aim to increase awareness to the public and improve HGV driver conditions, to make a haulage career more desirable.
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