The UK HGV driver shortage has become a growing problem for the UK economy. It is estimated that there is a shortage of 76,000 HGV drivers in the UK. The Freight Transport Association (FTA) published a report that stated, “64% of transport and storage businesses now face severe skills shortages.”
There are many factors at play, one being the result of the new UK immigration system which means EU citizens are no longer on the list of eligible skilled occupations, this means they’re excluded from a skilled work visa. Another factor is the loss of about 12 months driver training and testing due to the pandemic, with an estimated 30,000 tests lost. Combine this with the upturn in the UK economy since the easing of restrictions due to Covid-19, the demand across supply chains, especially in the hospitality sector, is making the situation even worse.
UK HGV drivers are an ageing workforce, with an average age of 48. With nearly 50% of drivers over 50 and only 1% under 25, the problem is only getting worse. The negative industry image, unsociable hours, average wages and the cost of gaining necessary training, licences and Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) costing up to £5,000, it’s putting off younger generations from becoming HGV drivers – meaning there are less new drivers joining the industry.
Action must be taken to fix the shortage of truck drivers in the UK. The problem is growing each year, and it may soon reach boiling point. We’re already seeing freight rates rising to a level that operators are finding unsustainable, with costs likely to be passed on to customers.