Another UK truck driver shortage on the cards in 7 years, Driver Require warns
Driver Require's latest Bulletin on the driver shortage quoted in Trans.Info
A new driver shortage crisis could hit the UK in just 7 years unless urgent action is taken by government and industry to retain younger drivers entering the workforce, warns the latest report from Driver Require.
The freshly published report by Driver Require has found that the 2021 HGV driver shortage was caused by a 15% drop in driver numbers from pre-pandemic levels (Q1 2020) and the 45-55 age group was the primary driver behind the shortage, with a 30,000 drop in numbers in Q1 2021.
The report’s findings suggest that another crisis could emerge within 7 years, rather than the 12 years previously estimated. This is because the 45-55 age group, which is the largest group of HGV drivers, is retiring at a faster rate than younger drivers are entering the industry.
“Previously we estimated a drop in 70,000 drivers would trigger another driver shortage crisis, suggesting a timeline of around 12 years. This is based on 12,000 retiring each year offset by about 6,000 entrants in the younger age ranges, resulting in an attrition of about 6,000/year,” Driver Require” latest report reads. “However, the revised figure of 45,000 drivers indicates another crisis could emerge much sooner than anticipated, within a span of around 7 years.”
The report also found that the over 55 age group did not contribute to the shortage, and in fact their numbers have increased since the pandemic. This is likely due to the fact that this age group was more likely to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and was therefore less likely to be affected by the pandemic.
The 45-55 age group: the primary driver behind the shortage
The 45-55 age group is the largest group of HGV drivers in the UK, accounting for about 40% of the workforce but this age group is also the most likely to retire from the industry in the next few years, the figures revealed.
The report found that the 45-55 age group was the primary driver behind the 2021 HGV driver shortage. This was due to a number of factors, including the challenges of renewing medical certificates, the lack of access to COVID-19 vaccines and the availability of other job opportunities.
The over 55 age group: not the problem
The over 55 age group is often blamed for the HGV driver shortage. However, the report found that this age group did not contribute to the shortage, and in fact their numbers have increased since the pandemic.
The over 55 age group is less likely to be affected by the challenges that faced the 45-55 age group. For example, they are more likely to have already renewed their medical certificates and they were more likely to have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The over 55 age group may also have been attracted back to the industry by the higher wages and better working conditions that have been offered in recent months.
Urgent action needed from government and industry
Driver Require stresses that the government must take steps to attract and retain younger drivers, such as increasing driver training capacity and making it easier for foreign drivers to work in the UK.
The industry also needs to improve working conditions for drivers, such as providing better pay and benefits.
“Our recommendations remain unchanged – the government and industry must act swiftly to attract and retain younger drivers to replace retiring cohorts at a faster pace than the last two decades. The current data signals the need to treat this issue with the urgency it demands. Previously we thought we could suffer a decrease of up to 25% without too much consternation, we now believe its closer to 15%. Implementing impactful measures is key before demographic trends cause another damaging driver shortage,” Driver Require warns.
Photo credit @AdobeStock/Tomasz Zajda
New ONS data reveals another HGV driver shortage crisis loomingDriver Require's latest Bulletin on the driver shortage quoted in Motor Transport
Report finds UK’s lorry driver shortage “low-level”, but “bleak outlook” lies aheadDriver Require has published its latest research on the UK's lorry driver shortage.
Take action to recruit young drivers or face another skills crisis, Driver Require report warnsThe UK HGV driver workforce has remained stable for the fourth successive quarter but continues to suffer a “chronic” low level shortages and a dearth of younger drivers, a report from Driver Require is warning.