The HGV driver shortage has been the subject of controversy recently, with some calling a myth while many others are concerned for the haulage industry, particularly after Brexit. At this point in time, the UK is approximately between 45,000-60,000 drivers short, expected to rise to 70,000 by the end of the year. Annually, there are only 19,000 new drivers coming into this industry and with billions of tonnes of goods being transported across the UK yearly, this is clearly a topic that requires serious discussion.
The Effect of Brexit
With Brexit fast approaching the situation is expected to worsen considerably, with as many as 55,000 truckers working for British companies being EU residents. This would mean that there will be issues surrounding visas and many employees may have to move away from the UK. Not only this but over 50% of truckers in the UK are over the age of 45, further showing just how hard it is to recruit new, younger drivers.
Trucking has always been a career that has divided opinion, there are long hours meaning that truckers are away from their family more so than the majority of other workers. However, many people like the idea of travelling across the country, visiting new places and working within their own space. Just like any other job, it has its pro’s and con’s.
Why is There a Shortage?
To try and fix the problem, it is important to first observe why so many people are leaving the profession. One of the reasons for this shortage is that there are a lot of legislation changes, leading to less freedom for these drivers as well as not being able to work as flexibly as before. On top of this, it has been made into an industry that is actually difficult to break into.
To get an HGV licence, you would need to complete a course that can cost over £3,000 and this is expected to be paid without government assistance, leaving only loans companies to provide help, of which there are not many. Even after this, work can still be hard to find, with the classic problem of jobs only being offered to people with experience, leaving people unable to gain experience as they cannot be offered a job without experience.
How can we Solve it?
There are some companies and organizations trying to tackle the problem, but of course it is no easy task. The Road Haulage Association proposed a five-step process that would include:
- Industry Promotion
- Improved working conditions for workers
- Improving the current standards
- High quality driver testing services
- Government funding for new workers
Hopefully soon the situation can be rectified for the benefit of all UK residents. For more information on the HGV driver shortage, check out this infographic from Return Loads.