A shortage of HGV drivers has been an issue for several years now. However, the shortage reached a critical point in the summer of 2021. Drivers and subcontractors are in higher demand than ever. Several different factors led to the current HGV driver shortage. An aging workforce, the recent COVID pandemic, and Brexit all impacted the situation and created a need for more drivers.
Contending With an Aging Workforce
The average age of an HGV driver is 55. This statistic means most of the HGV driver workforce is set to retire in the next ten years. In fact, retirement is the biggest reason for the shortage, according to an RHA survey. There are estimated to be about 150,000 drivers getting close to retirement. New drivers are in demand, so the industry is looking to appeal to younger generations to land long-term drivers. It’s working so far, with reports of an increase in driving apprentices from logistics firms.
Following retirement, Brexit comes in second for causing the HGV driver shortage. Before Brexit, EU nationals made up around 13.5% of the workforce. Now, 79,000 drivers are gone, which puts it at 10%. Since drivers can’t move freely between the UK and their country of origin, many choose to stay home. This development created a gap in the UK workforce. Returning to the UK is more difficult for EU drivers, but at this point, they don’t want to. A temporary visa program launched by the government aims to encourage EU workers to rejoin the workforce. But the success of the program has been limited. More must be done to entice workers to return.
Will the HGV driver shortage be remedied in the near future? We sure hope so! We’ll keep an eye on things as developments occur.