By the end of 2021, there was signficiantly more people wanting HGV jobs in Hull and the rest of the UK compared to 2019. That said, recruitment efforts in the auto industry and initiatives by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency have helped with testing capacity. More people are taking and passing the tests they need to get their HGV license. This means that there’s been a much-needed increase in workers who have them. There have been reports of a 53% increase in the number of driving test taken for HGV driving.
There are several reasons why there is a shortage of HGV drivers by 2021. One reason is that the tests and training for becoming an HGV driver weren’t available during the pandemic lockdowns and because there wasn’t much diversity in the workforce. UK companies also had to rely on overseas labour, which isn’t as skilled as domestic workforces. This resulted in an under-skilled workforce.
However, the number of drivers is still dropping. They’ve started to stabilise in recent years as the market starts to stabilise and we meet demand. Drivers are another opportunity for people. There’s the need for them in online shopping and with the pandemic, new opportunities pop up all over.
The government raised salaries for British HGV drivers and offered lucrative bonuses to those who joined in 2021. These offers made a once overlooked industry seem more attractive to younger talent and those entering the labour force during a tough time. Currently, there are minimal disruptions in the supply chain. We hope this trend will remain for a while.
Elizabeth de Jong, Director of Policy at Logistics UK, comments:
“The new ONS data shows that attracting new entrants to the profession, and ensuring sufficient tests are available, are key to the resilience of the logistics sector. The long waiting list to take a vocational HGV test in Great Britain has been a key contributor to the driver shortage crisis; the data in the report revealed today shows that the DVSA is making progress in catching up on the testing backlog which grew out of the restrictions under the COVID-19 pandemic. Logistics UK will be working with its members and government to ensure the focus remains on reducing the shortfall in HGV drivers.”