According to Logistics UK’s analysis of the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) Labour Force Survey data, the HGV driver shortage remains an important issue for the country. However on a positive note, the number of employed HGV drivers has remained the same, and it seems that the initiatives introduced by the government and industry in the latter part of 2021 and into 2022 are bringing results.
“Government and industry have worked hard to address the key issues which have affected the recruitment of HGV drivers in the past,” says Sarah Watkins, Deputy Director – Policy Information at Logistics UK. “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 boot camps and improved throughputs of testing by DVSA are beginning to address the loss of skilled workers which we have seen in the recent past.”
Logistics UK’s figures show that even though the number of employed HGV drivers is estimated to have fallen by 30,300 in the first quarter of 2022, it is still less compared with Q3 and Q4 2021 which saw falls of 44,000 and 49,000 respectively.
At the same time, DVSA testing facilities have illustrated that 26,388 practical HGV tests were conducted in Q1 2022, which is an increase of 43% compared with the same period in 2019. In March 2022 there was a record of 10,481 tests undertaken, with a 60% pass rate. HGV driver wages have also increased to help retain existing staff and attract new drivers, with advertised salaries for those qualified to drive the heaviest vehicles increasing by an average of 25% in Q1 2022 compared with a year ago.
“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. Simultaneously, the very low number of HGV drivers claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell 70% from Q1 2019 to Q1 2022, indicating that there are hardly any surplus HGV drivers available for work.
“Attracting and retaining new recruits and existing HGV drivers in the sector remains a critical priority for the logistics industry to secure a talent pipeline for years to come. It is vitally important that these initiatives continue at pace to maintain recruitment levels and ensure that a sustained future pipeline of skilled drivers can be available to support the supply chain as the economy recovers after the impact of the pandemic. What the industry now needs is a renewed focus on the improvement of facilities for drivers across the strategic roads network, to provide the services and support which these key workers deserve during their working lives.”
Logistics UK represents logistics businesses and more than seven million people are directly employed in the making, selling, and moving of goods. Logistics UK supports, shapes, and stands up for safe and efficient logistics, and is the only business group that represents the whole industry, with members from the road, rail, sea, and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods.
Source: Forwarder Magazine
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