Is the Commercial Vehicle Driver Shortage a Potential ‘Sticky Wicket’?

Van DrivingThere’s no hiding that HGV drivers don’t get it easy, as well as having to spend large amounts of time away from home, the lack of basic facilities on the road at service stations and in laybys aren’t points that fleet managers like to mention when doing their latest round of recruitment. Recent findings have actually revealed that the shortage of commercial vehicle drivers is at crisis point, so what exactly is going on?

Here at Hope Technical Developments we pride ourselves on being at the heart of innovation when it comes to industry grade, fully accredited HGV safety equipment, and in turn we like to keep up with the latest goings on throughout the sector. We had to find out more about the driver shortage currently affecting the market and what can be, and is being, done to make this crucial role desirable once more.

The statistics behind the crisis

The shortage of HGV and LGV drivers isn’t just an isolated problem, it is a UK wide issue that could in fact bring this, until now thriving, industry to a halt. According to a recent survey, the UK will need an extra 150,000 drivers by 2020 to cope with the increasing number of demands on the industry, but with nine vacancies available to every qualified lorry driver, this may not be a figure that can be reached recruitment-wise. Without the right steps being taken now, the problem is also unlikely to go away – according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the average age of an LGV driver is 45 years or over and with retirement approaching for the majority of long distance lorry drivers and no young people to replace them, logistics operators may be struggling even more in the coming years.

Statistics provided by a recent Commercial Fleet poll put things into perspective further as 75% of operators highlighted driver recruitment and retention as a major issue, with all commenting on their struggle to recruit drivers.

Government help for the industry

With the crisis reaching fever pitch, the government has pledged their support to improve recruitment and retention throughout the industry. In the March Budget, Chancellor George Osborne addressed concerns directly and pledged to review the speed in which HGV driver testing and driver medical assessments are conducted and finalised. Will this be enough to help the industry meet its recruitment goal by 2020? Only time will tell…