HGV Drivers in high demand as UK continues to open up
An article published by the Financial Times this week has highlighted an area of concern surrounding HGV drivers within the haulage and logistics industry, nationwide. Describing a “triple whammy” of ongoing worries, appearing concurrently over the last few months, and now causing problems simultaneously, the article points to potential problems in supply chains coming to the fore over the summer.
Areas for concern
The FT article primarily points to the impact of Britain leaving the EU, and the recruitment of HGV drivers from outside the UK slowing down over time. But, added to that more recently, of course, is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent cancellation of an estimated 28,000 HGV driver tests over the last year.
Also, there is the added complication of recent self-employment tax reforms, namely IR35, which we wrote about prior to its rollout in April. The FT report that this has exacerbated the problem and expediated the decline in driver numbers. Global Cold Chain News also suggested that as around one-third of the estimated 300,000 HGV drivers in the UK are over 55, that the shortfall would continue to build as drivers approach retirement.
Inside every problem…?
Of course, there’s that classic adage that “inside every problem lies an opportunity”, and that’s certainly a positive outlook worth buying into. For example, where there is a shortage in one form of employment – there exists the opportunity for more people to become qualified, and fill the gap. Although, admittedly, if almost 30,000 tests have been cancelled in the last 12 months, that will take some time.
And here lies both the answer and, of course, the unknown, in this unanticipated situation within the sector. Time will show us both how significant all of these problems have become, what needs to be done to resolve them – and what part all of us involved need to play.
Looking for solutions? Get in touch
From our point of view, we remain delighted to be able to provide excellent HGV drivers for our clients. And to be able to find regular work for the people looking for HGV jobs in the North East. Even if you’re only thinking about getting your license soon, and not yet qualified, you’re also welcome to get in touch to find out a little more about what it’s like to work in the industry.