At one time being an HGV driver was seen as a job that offered people all sorts of possibilities. It was seen as a career that paid well and gave people the chance to see large parts of both the UK and even the continent. When I was young HGV drivers were knights of the road in their big trucks bringing both essential goods and luxury items to consumers all around the world.
When you work in logistics you could be dealing with anything from magazine distribution for print companies to delivering food to supermarket chains. However, maybe life wasn’t as glamorous and well-paid as a lot of people thought it was. This has been borne out by the fact that as things stand at the moment there is a nationwide shortage of HGV drivers in the UK.
For the last few years, the logistics industry has been propped up by drivers from eastern Europe who could earn better wages in the UK than they could in their own countries. However, Brexit has meant that many of those drivers have now moved on to find work elsewhere leaving the industry again severely short of drivers. So we thought we would have a look at why logistics companies find it hard to recruit staff and more importantly why young people are no longer attracted to life on the road.
Getting your HGV Licence can be a costly and long-drawn-out process with no 100 % guarantee of a job at the end of it. Quite often even if you successfully pass your test companies are reluctant to take new pass drivers. This is sometimes related to problems getting insurance coverage for them or just the fact that they do not feel confident in their driving ability. Recently, the government introduced some changes in the licensing process to make it easier for people to gain their licences, but industry professionals have reacted with scepticism. Some larger companies are now running their recruitment programmes where they effectively take new pass drivers as trainees to ensure they get the required experience in the hope they will provide them with a workforce for years to come.
Contrary to popular opinion, rates of pay for HGV drivers are not as high as you may think. Not when you consider the pressure that goes with the job. HGV drivers have made a decent living over the years mainly by doing long hours. At one time there were no restrictions on the number of hours HGV drivers could work in a week however this changed when the new driver regulations came in and drivers were limited to 60 working hours in a week. This placed a limit on the amount drivers could earn. The shortage of drivers has seen an increase in pay rates over the last 12 months as logistics companies fight it out for drivers however this may have been a case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.
One of the issues with HGV driving is when you leave the home to go to work you can never be sure what time you are going to get home. The state of the nation’s roads, problems with unloading or breakdowns can all impact your working day. In the modern world where there are so many other distractions and people place a high value on their social lives, this is a definite turn-off.
The three reasons we have listed are probably just the tip of the iceberg, but there is no doubt they are three of the biggest reasons why the logistics industry finds itself so short of staff.