Logistics UK, a trade group for the logistics industry, has partnered with independent research agency Repgraph to issue their annual report on skills and employment in logistics. The report shows signs the driver shortage is improving, with the number of drivers leaving the industry dropping.
According to the report, the number of employed drivers dropped by 44,000 in the third quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2019.
It is worth noting that the report acknowledges an issue with measuring the driver shortage, and it is advised that an index of the number of HGV drivers in employment be used instead, as there is no clear method for calculating the shortage.
The Logistics UK report highlighted the major actions that were taken to resolve the issues of driver training, recruitment, and testing, noting the various degrees of effectiveness.
“The flexibility and resilience of our sector in coping with a smaller workforce, coupled with issues caused by Brexit and supply chain disruption caused by worldwide container shipping issues, have been incredible, and with higher wages now helping to plug the gaps in employment for companies which can afford them and an increase in HGV driver tests of 25.6% and three-fold increase in applications for vocational provisional licences, there is hope that the shortage of HGV drivers will ease.
“However, this is not cause for complacency just yet; although average driver pay surged 10% in the nine months to October 2021 in order to retain existing staff and attract new drivers, smaller fleet operators are still not back to full fleet capacity after the Covid-19 pandemic shutdown, and their inability to compete for drivers by offering higher wages appears to be hindering their efforts to recruit new staff.
“Government announcements to help address issues across our sector, including increasing driver testing throughput, funding Skills Bootcamps to train HGV drivers and a commitment to improved overnight parking provision, have been at pace. There needs to be continued focus from government to ensure they are delivered, so business and industry can take full advantage and continue to raise awareness of logistics and the opportunities it offers.”Elizabeth de Jong, Policy Director at Logistics UK
A copy of the report is available on Logistics UK here.