By the end of 2021, there was a national shortage of HGV drivers in the UK compared to 2019. However, thanks to efforts in the recruitment industry and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency incentives, there has been an increased capacity for driving tests. Thankfully, numbers are finally starting to stabilise as more workers get their HGV licenses and enter the field of work. There has reportedly been a 53.5% increase in driving tests taken for HGV driving, meaning a 53% increase since 2019.
The reason for the 2021 HGV driver shortage was down to several factors. HGV driving tests were not happening during the pandemic lockdowns, an ageing workforce that lacked diversity in the industry, and a reliance on overseas labour. These factors resulted in underskilled domestic UK workforces.
However, statistics show that the number of drivers continues to fall. Still, they are stabilising as we get a grip on the market and meet demands. Moreover, these new drivers allow for new job opportunities across the UK, particularly as the need for online shopping rises at the back end of the pandemic.
The government contacted a million HGV driving licence holders in 2021, incentivising a raise to salaries and offering lucrative joining bonuses. These offers undoubtedly made a once overlooked industry seem more attractive to younger workers and those entering the job market during a difficult time. Thankfully, whilst the start of the year is considered a quieter time for the industry, signs of supply chain disruptions are currently at a minimum.
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.”
Suppose you are interested in being an HGV driver. In that case, we recommend looking at our job listings, where the opening for HGV drivers often arises.