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HGV driver shortage climbs to 59,000

Posted on: 12/11/2019

The shortage of HGV drivers in the UK has climbed to 59,000 as 64% of transport and storage businesses now face severe skills shortages, says a new report from the Freight Transport Association.

The Logistics Skills Report provides a detailed examination into how various factors, including Brexit and artificial intelligence, are affecting the logistics workforce.

“The shortage of HGV drivers in the UK has continued to worsen, with 59,000 of them now urgently needed to keep goods moving across the UK,” Sally Gilson, Head of Skills Campaigns at the FTA, said.  “The combination of an ageing workforce, low unemployment, declining EU net migration and difficulties attracting new candidates to the sector has created the perfect storm of driver shortages.”

According to the report, 60% of HGV drivers are over the age of 44 and only 19% are under 35.  The number of HGV drivers is down 16,000 or 5.0% year-on-year.  “Too few young people are considering a career as a HGV driver; there are several reasons for this, including a lack of understanding of the industry, poor sector image, working hours and lack of quality driver facilities,” Sally Gilson explained.

She added: “To tackle the labour shortage, FTA is calling for the Apprenticeship Levy to become a Skills Levy, so previously unused funds can be utilised for more flexible training programmes; the current scheme is not fit for purpose.  FTA is also calling on government to improve driver facilities to make HGV driving a more attractive career for individuals of all ages.

“The logistics sector is the lifeblood of the nation’s economy, supplying businesses with the goods they need to operate and contributing a total £124 billion gross value added (GVA) each year.  The economy cannot operate without HGV drivers; they are an integral part of the logistics workforce and a vital cog in the UK’s interconnected supply chain.  Without them, businesses would simply come grinding to a halt and Britain would find it very hard to keep trading.”