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Logistics UK survey lays bare the true scale of the HGV driver crisis

Logistics UK’s latest Logistics Performance Tracker survey has revealed the size and scale of the current HGV driver shortage.

As the availability and ability to recruit HGV drivers worsened in the three months to September, the shortage has impacted on many areas of business, with most respondents having to raise pay by a significant margin to retain their existing drivers and attract new applicants.

The survey reveals that HGV driver roles have become increasingly difficult to fill, with 96% of respondents reporting problems in recruiting drivers. Conducted between 18 August and 15 September 2021, the survey is based on contributions from 175 respondents across 12 business sectors.


More than three out of four contributors (76%) have raised driver pay in the past six months, with the average increase in driver pay being 10.1%. The main reason given for raising pay were market forces and a desire to retain existing drivers. Almost seven out of ten respondents (69%) that had not yet increased pay stated they would do so in the next six months.

Only a minority of respondents (6.8%) stated that their organisation had offered a sign-on bonus to attract new drivers, with the average payment being £750.


More than half of respondents reported a greater number of HGVs parked up, compared to normal levels of business. More than eight out of ten of those surveyed attributed this to the general lack of available drivers, 46% to IR35 changes affecting the number of drivers available and 16% to the backlog of drivers needing CPC certification. More transport companies are scaling back or suspending operations, probably owing to difficulties with the recruitment of drivers.


Two out of three respondents stated that transport costs had increased, compared with 46% in May. Diesel accounts for around one third of the cost of running a 44-tonne HGV, and as fuel prices have risen this has had an immediate knock-on effect on overall operating costs.


Operators are experiencing shortages of drivers and mechanics, with negligible numbers furloughed (0.2% of drivers, 1.4% of mechanics), self-isolating or made redundant (0%). Since January 2021, an average of 0.9% of logistics staff were made redundant, compared with 1.2% in May.

Sarah Watkins, General Manager – Policy Information, Logistics UK, said: “Our latest Logistics Performance Tracker, the twelfth in the series, gives an insight into the breadth and depth of the driver recruitment crisis. A staggering 96% of respondents, drawn from 12 business sectors, have reported difficulties recruiting HGV drivers with 42% reporting very severe problems. Nor is this recruitment problem confined to driver roles, with more than three out of four respondents also experiencing problems filling vacancies for mechanics.”


Published On: 30/09/2021 16:00:20


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Month in the media – September 2021 

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