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Is the HGV Driver Shortage Crisis Over?

The driver shortage update Q2 2022

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Written by

Claire Smith

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Driver Require has analysed the latest ONS Quarterly Labour Force stats for April to June 2022, which indicate that an end to the HGV Shortage Crisis may be within sight. The good news is that the number of HGV delivery drivers in the UK has grown from 271,000 in Q1 ‘22 to 305,000 in Q2, which now exceeds the pre-Pandemic HGV driver workforce of 301,000.

Driver Require formed the Driver Shortage Think Tank in 2021 to report on the evolving HGV driver shortage and the impact of the Covid pandemic on the UK haulage sector. As part of this initiative, Driver Require has tracked demand for haulage services throughout the pandemic and concludes that current demand is now slightly above pre-pandemic levels.

This implies that the UK HGV driver demand and supply is at approximately the same level as it was pre-pandemic, which leads us to hope that we are approaching the end of the Covid HGV driver shortage crisis and returning to the chronic low-level shortage we experienced for decades. If this is the case we can anticipate seasonal short-term driver shortages, becoming severe during the summer holiday months and later in the year with the Black Friday effect and the lead-up to Christmas.

We have analysed the underlying HGV driver pool dynamics by nationality and age group, and these have been documented in the Driver Require Think Tank reports and bulletins.

The latest Think Tank reports observe that only a relatively small fraction of the improved driver numbers has come from new HGV test passes and the larger part has been due to returning lapsed drivers, attracted back by the better pay and conditions offered by hauliers in response to last year’s shortage crisis. 

While it is good news that overall driver numbers are recovering, it is important to recognise that there is still significant churn, especially from the younger age groups, and it is therefore very important for the haulage sector to continue pushing initiatives to attract back and retain lapsed HGV drivers.

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Thursday 18th August 2022

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