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Q3 figures show driver ‘churn’ still ‘too high’

Transport Operator mentions Driver Require's latest Bulletin on the HGV driver shortage crisis

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Written by

Claire Smith

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Recruitment specialist Driver Require has provided further insight into the UK’s HGV driver shortage following analysis of figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), suggesting that almost 30,000 drivers returned to the sector during the third quarter of the year.

Driver Require says that while the new data appears to be positive, driver ‘churn’ is still unsustainably high, as record numbers of younger licence holders continue to abandon driving as a career.

The ONS’ Quarterly Labour Force Survey for Q3, which was used to inform the company’s latest driver shortage bulletin, demonstrates that “we may be starting to turn the corner and that the shortage has meaningfully lessened”, according to Kieran Smith, CEO of Driver Require.

“But this doesn’t mean that we are out of the woods,” he continued.

“In fact, quite the opposite, it appears that despite rising wages churn is still high, critically in the under-45 age group.

“This means that we are nowhere near to resolving the issue of retention in our driver workforce. The addition of new entrants to market has effectively been negated by the churn in the under-45s age group, leaving us effectively at a net zero position for Q3 2021.

“While we are really encouraged by these results, we absolutely can’t sit back and relax. We must forge ahead with addressing the issue of retention; there must be concerted and unified action to improve HGV driver working conditions, provide more quality secure HGV parking facilities – along with other measures to prevent drivers from leaving the workforce.”

According to Driver Require, the 30,000 returning drivers were mostly in the over-45 age group, which it suggests may be due to many of the 53,000 over-45s leaving the sector in Q1 being attracted back through improved conditions and wages.

Around 5,000 drivers under 35 joined the workforce, demonstrating that efforts around increasing testing capacity and throughput have paid dividends.

The number of drivers aged between 35 and 45 dropped by around 4,000, meanwhile.

Furthermore, Driver Require identified that just over 5,000 EU nationals seemingly returned to driving HGVs as a career, presumably from other jobs based in the UK, most of whom it expects would have been below 45.

“This implies a net addition of approximately 10,000 HGV drivers below the age of 45, yet this age group only increased by a little over 1,000,” the company reported.

“We can conclude that about 9,000 HGV drivers left from the under-45-year-old group, leading us to suspect that employment conditions and a lack of suitable quality parking facilities is still causing drivers to abandon driving for a career.”

Read the full article from Transport Operator

To download our latest Bulletin on the HGV driver shortgage

Monday 13th December 2021

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