Despite hopes the HGV driver shortage would be “easing” by the start of 2022, many experts believe there’s still a way to go before the UK is back on track. Over the last few months, governments have taken a number of steps to fight against the shortages, from scrapping the limits on the number of deliveries EU drivers could make, to welcoming outside drivers back into the country.
Though these efforts are helping to push the industry back in the right direction, there’s more work to be done. According to Andrew Opie, the Director of Food and Sustainability for the British Retail Consortium, the problem will continue to have a serious impact on the UK economy until at least the middle of 2022.
Measuring the Scope of the Shortage
Demand continues to skyrocket for HGV drivers across the UK, as logistics companies and huge brands struggle to deliver products around the country. According to an open letter issued to the government by the Road Haulage association, we could be dealing with a shortage of at least 100,000 qualified drivers in the country.
These estimates are similar to those put forward by Logistics UK, who say the shortfall of qualified workers is probably around 90,000. Lack of access to HGV drivers means that numerous other parts of the economy in the UK are struggling. After all, lorry drivers make up an important part of the supply chain for many industries.
In the last few months, we’ve noticed a distinct lack of resources in the UK, caused by issues with getting products like fuel, essential items, and even food distributed throughout the country. While these problems have been exacerbated by the pandemic, we’ll struggle to continue serving the country as normal without access to the right drivers.
In certain cases, lack of access to lorry drivers can also mean significant waste. For instance, in the food and pharmaceutical industry, shipments need to be processed rapidly, and delivered to their required location as quickly as possible. Failure to find the correct HGV drivers in time could lead to the waste of essential food.
Why is the HGV Driver Shortage So Significant?
Without HGV drivers, we wouldn’t have access to endless sources of entertainment, resources, and other essentials in the UK. As appreciation for these drivers continues to grow, benefits, salaries, and other advantages for licensed professionals have exploded. So, with so many great job opportunities available, why is there such a significant HGV driver shortage?
There are a number of potential answers to this question, starting with the issue of Brexit. The UK’s exit from the European Union meant a number of non-UK residents working in the HGV industry were forced to return to their home. This led to a significant drop in available employees.
At the same time, the COVID pandemic forced a number of manufacturing companies and supply chain brands to shut their doors. During their time out of work, a number of HGV drivers found different jobs and left the industry behind.
During the pandemic, we also saw a fewer people getting their HGV licenses, due to an inability to conduct tests in person. This backlog in examinations represents a significant problem at a time when many existing HGV drivers are retiring. Around 34% of lorry drivers in 2019 were over the age of 55, indicating a need for new generations to join the fold.
Combine the problems of the pandemic and Brexit with the fact that getting a HGV license hasn’t always been easy for beginners, and it’s easy to see why the country is struggling. On top of this, lack of education about what it’s really like to become an HGV driver has left a lot of people refusing to look into the option for their own career path after school.
Can the HGV Driver Shortage be Fixed?
The UK is reliant on HGV drivers and lorry drivers to continue running smoothly. Because of this, the government is already taking action to try and address the driver shortage head-on. This has led to more European drivers being allowed back into the country to manage some of the gaps. Additionally, the government has announced various other steps to handle the issue, such as:
- Boot camp training options for people who want to become drivers
- Letters issued to people with a HGV driving license, asking them to return to the industry
- Changes to rules around driving hours, so employees can work for longer (when they want to)
- Better training opportunities supported by professional groups like Surrey and Hampshire HGV Training.
- Improved earning potential for those willing to pursue a career in HGV driving.
The government is encouraging as many people and companies as possible to do their part to support the revival of the HGV driver industry. This is something we’re working on at Surrey and Hampshire HGV Training. As experts on the front line of the lorry driving landscape, we’re offering access to quick and easy forms of training for today’s would-be drivers.
One of the most significant issues that the UK will need to overcome is the significant backlog in the number of HGV drivers waiting for training and tests. This is why we’re offering everything from virtual CPS training to ultra-fast educational courses, so you can get on the road as quickly as possible. We offer a range of license categories to appeal to any kind of driver too.
Outside of offering fantastic training solutions, we’re also doing our best to educate the masses on what it means to be a HGV driver, and the benefits that can come from getting your license.
Let’s Fix the Lorry Driver Shortage
As the demand for HGV drivers remains high, there’s never been a better time to consider a career with a HGV driving license. If you’re ready to change your career path, or you like the idea of a life behind the wheel, you could earn a huge wage by getting certified now.
With Surrey and Hampshire HGV Training, you can access convenient, local support to get you on the road as quickly as possible. We can all do our part to fix the lorry driver shortage.
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