Home News Features Compliance

🕒 Article read time: 2 minutes

Logistics UK Transport Manager Survey captures the challenges facing operators


Following a pause in publication in 2020 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, Logistics UK’s Transport Manager Survey has returned for 2021.

Based on the responses of around 400 transport managers who are members of Logistics UK, the survey and report highlight a wide range of issues that affect the road haulage industry, from driver recruitment and pay to Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and Low Emission Zone regulation.

Conducted in June and July 2021, the survey offers a comprehensive overview of transport managers’ assessment of the role they play in UK logistics and the state of the industry. Almost four out of five respondents (79%) were operator licence-nominated transport managers and a further one in eight respondents fulfilled the day-to-day role of transport manager.

OLDER TRANSPORT MANAGERS LEAVING THE INDUSTRY

The ageing transport manager workforce and problems recruiting younger staff and mechanics are compounding the well-publicised skills shortage among HGV drivers. Four out of five transport manager respondents were over the age of 45; the same as 2019, while the number of transport managers under the age of 35 fell from 7.1% in 2019 to 5.6% in 2021.

The proportion of respondents who were planning to leave the industry in the next five years increased slightly to 37.6% from 36.4% in 2019. The number of 65 to 74-year-olds planning to leave the industry in the next five years rose to 83.3% from 69.2% in 2019 as fewer transport managers choose to work past retirement age.

NUMBER OF YOUNGER LEAVERS BROADLY UNCHANGED

The proportion of other age groups intending to leave the industry in the next five years remained largely unchanged. The exception are 25 to 34-year-old transport managers; the proportion of this age group planning on leaving the industry fell to 5.9% in 2021 compared with 16.7% in 2019 – a positive indication that younger people are being retained.

TRANSPORT MANAGERS REMAIN IN CURRENT ROLE FOR LONGER

The average length of time transport managers reported being in their current role was 7.4 years, which is nearly a full year more than reported in 2019. However, the average length of time spent as a transport manager in their career was 10.5 years, falling from 11.2 years in 2019.

REMUNERATION AND BUDGETARY RESPONSIBILITIES

The proportion of transport managers earning less than £20,000 in total compensation rose from 2.2% to 3.8%. However, there were large decreases in mid-range pay bands and significant increases in higher pay, possibly due to the retention of older staff.

There was no change in the size of budgets for which transport managers were responsible in 2021, compared to two years earlier. The proportion responsible for budgets under £500,000 was 22.3%. At the same time, those responsible for budgets over £500,000 was 77.7%.

DRIVER SHORTAGE REMAINS TOP CHALLENGE

Asked to rate issues according to how challenging they perceived them to be, respondents reported that the driver shortage remains the top challenge in 2021 and has increased since 2019. Fuel price and duty has fallen slightly as fuel prices in 2020 were lower than 2019. Traffic congestion and journey time reliability moved from third place to fifth as coronavirus restrictions reduced the level of car traffic on the road network.

RECRUITING FOR HARD-TO-FILL ROLES

Staff recruitment has reached crisis level for transport managers, particularly for transport managers. Difficulties were also evident in the recruitment of van drivers and warehouse staff. Two-thirds of respondents reported that they were either unable to fill vacancies for HGV drivers or had experienced long delays in doing so.

The EU workforce in the UK reduced dramatically in Q2 and Q3 of 2020. In Q2 2020 the number of EU drivers fell by 36.6% from 39,000 to 25,000, compared with Q2 2019. In Q2 2021 there was no change in the number of EU drivers in employment. The percentage of those who reported no issues in recruiting HGV drivers was around the same as 2019, at 10.2%. The percentage of respondents reporting that they were either unable to fill mechanic vacancies or had experienced long delays fell slightly from 64.2% in 2019 to 61.3% in 2021.

BUMPER PAY INCREASES FOR DRIVERS

The proportion of transport managers incentivising the recruitment and retention of HGV drivers through pay increases is up for newly employed drivers and agency drivers, as industry attempts to attract new and temporary drivers to plug the shortfall in driver numbers.

SHORTAGES EXPECTED TO CONTINUE

Most transport managers expect a shortage of qualified HGV drivers in the near future, although one in six did not forecast this to be the case compared to almost one in three (30%) in 2019. Driver retirement was cited again this year as the most significant contributing factor to shortages. Non-UK citizens leaving the country and a lack of apprentices were cited by twice as many transport managers in 2021 than in 2019, as issues contributing to the driver shortage. These findings are in line with the general ageing profile of drivers and the change in UK migration patterns due to Brexit. Of those who provided an ‘other’ reason, the dominant issue was the impact of IR35 tax reforms, where agency workers pay more tax and agencies pay National Insurance contributions. As in previous years, a few also mentioned ‘low pay and poor conditions’.

Sarah Watkins, General Manager – Policy Information, said: “After a break in 2020, this year’s Transport Manager Survey confirms the well-publicised HGV driver shortages in the industry and the effect this has had on pay, especially in order to attract new and temporary drivers. The survey also captures respondents’ views on driver wellbeing, urban logistics, brake testing, enforcement and compliance, forming a useful snapshot of the challenges currently facing transport managers.”

*https://logistics.org.uk/transport-manager-survey-2021

Published On: 16/09/2021 16:00:24

 



Latest articles

Axing of plug-in car grant does not affect vans, Logistics UK reassures members

The surprise announcement from the government last week (14 June 2022), that it will end the plug-in car grant (PiCG) for new car sales with immediate effect will not affect the plug-in grant for vans, Logistics UK has reassured its members.

Read time: 2 minutes

View article

Logistics UK welcomes government consultation on reforming the HGV levy

Logistics UK welcomed the government’s publication earlier this week (20 June 2022) of its consultation on reforming the heavy goods vehicle (HGV) levy.

Read time: 2 minutes

View article

Logistics UK’s Transport Manager Conferences are back for 2022

Logistics UK’s ever-popular Transport Manager conference series, sponsored by Brigade Electronics, will return in autumn 2022 with live events at 10 venues around the UK.

Read time: 2 minutes

View article

Next page

Policy campaign highlight – September 2021

Interested in Membership?

Get in contact using the Membership Enquiry Form.

Membership Enquiry Form

Logistics Magazine Portal

The hub for finding relevant and informative features, news & compliance guides from Logistics Magazine

Logistics Magazine Portal Home

Sponsorship Opportunities

Learn more about advertising on the new digital Logistics Magazine, with a variety of advert options to reach 30,000 relevant readers.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Magazine Contents

News

Logistics Magazine will cover all the latest news on stories breaking in the industry, including developments on COVID-19,  Brexit, Clean Air Zones, transport law and decarbonisation.

News

Features

Our frequent features will tackle the broader issues affecting logistics such as the COVID-19 vaccination programme, technology and innovation, the political and economic landscape, global trade and the drive to reduce emissions across all transport modes.

Features

Compliance

Each month we explore a different topic in depth in our popular Compliance section, while each week we will publish answers put to our Member Advice Centre team.

Compliance

View Supplements and Previous Printed Editions

View Supplements and previous printed editions of Logistics Magazine here.

Previous