HGV driver shortage climbs to 59,000

Monday 14 October 2019

The shortage of HGV drivers in the UK has climbed to 59,000 as 64% of transport and storage businesses now face severe skills shortages, according to a recent report by FTA. The Logistics Skills Report, sponsored by Manpower, provides a detailed examination into how various factors, including Brexit and artificial intelligence, are impacting the logistics workforce.

Sally Gilson, Head of Skills Campaigns at FTA, the voice of the UK logistics sector, comments: “The shortage of HGV drivers in the UK has continued to worsen, with 59,000 of them now urgently needed to keep goods moving across the UK. The combination of an ageing workforce, low unemployment, declining EU net migration and difficulties attracting new candidates to the sector has created the perfect storm of driver shortages.”

According to the report, 60% of HGV drivers are over the age of 44 and only 19% are under the age of 35. The number of HGV drivers is down 16,000 or 5.0% year-on-year. Ms Gilson continues: “Too few young people are considering a career as a HGV driver; there are several reasons for this, including a lack of understanding of the industry, poor sector image, working hours and lack of quality driver facilities.

“To tackle the labour shortage, FTA is calling for the Apprenticeship Levy to become a Skills Levy, so previously unused funds can be utilised for more flexible training programmes; the current scheme is not fit for purpose. FTA is also calling on government to improve driver facilities to make HGV driving a more attractive career for individuals of all ages.”

Ms Gilson continues: “The logistics sector is the lifeblood of the nation’s economy, supplying businesses with the goods they need to operate and contributing a total £124 billion gross value added (GVA) each year. The UK economy cannot operate without HGV drivers; they are an integral part of the logistics workforce and a vital cog in the UK’s interconnected supply chain. Without them, businesses would simply come grinding to a halt and Britain would find it very hard to keep trading.

Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods.  With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.