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Why is there a shortage of haulage drivers in the UK?

Feb 26, 2018

In the UK there is a drastic shortage of qualified HGV drivers. Estimates suggest another 50,000 to 60,000 drivers are currently needed and it’s expected the situation is only going to get worse. The shortfall is predicted to increase to 150,000 by 2020.  But what is causing this shortage of drivers and why is it proving so difficult to fill the vacancies?

The 10 main reasons behind the shortage

  1. Aging drivers
  2. Work life balance
  3. Low salaries
  4. Problems at Calais
  5. Financial costs
  6. Economic growth
  7. Cost of insurance
  8. EU directives
  9. Industry perceptions
  10. Poor facilities

Aging drivers

The average age of truck drivers is 53 and 13% of them are over 60, meaning that many will be retiring within the next five to ten years. However, with only 2% under the age of 25, there are not enough young drivers to replace them.

Work life balance

The long hours and time away from home puts off a lot of people from choosing HGV driving as a career. This is particularly true for drivers with families.

Low salaries

Despite the shortage of drivers, salaries within the sector are lower than average. With the long working day, this means the pay per hour is even less. Wages have been kept low by the influx of drivers from Eastern Europe; with Brexit just around the corner it will be interesting to see if this changes the situation.

Problems at Calais

The situation with migrants congregating at Calais and targeting trucks with intimidating behaviour is another factor putting people off choosing HGV driving as a career.

Financial costs

There are a number of upfront costs involved in qualifying as a HGV driver, such as gaining the licence and paying for a medical. Many people don’t want to fund these costs, especially when taking the low earnings in to account.

Economic growth

Growth in the economy has increased the demand for moving goods around the UK and Europe, accentuating the scarcity of drivers.

Cost of insurance

Commercial vehicle insurance costs are increasing and are particularly high for younger drivers under the age of 25. This is another barrier for younger people becoming HGV drivers.

EU directives

The EU has introduced the Drivers CPC, requiring experienced drivers to do more training. Many decided to retire rather than complete the extra training.

Industry perceptions

Despite the fact that HGV cabs now come with comfortable beds and home-from-home conveniences, as well as having power steering and high-tech controls, haulage is not highly sought after as a career.

Poor facilities

Most lorry drivers feel the facilities at service stations are below acceptable standards, lacking clean toilets and washing facilities.  This is putting off potential new drivers, especially females.

Talk to a broker who knows and understands the commercial motor market

At Anthony Jones we have an experienced team of commercial motor insurance experts who are here to help arrange the best cover for your fleet of vehicles. Give us a call on 0208 712 4273.

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