Will Economic Recovery Mean a Shortage of LGV Drivers?

There has been a fair amount of discussion within the industry about driver shortages. A study carried out in 2009 on behalf of the European Parliament Directorate General for Structural and Cohesion Policies, estimated that something like 1,465 extra drivers were needed in the UK.

In the UK it is estimated that there are 299,000 drivers of which 48,000 are approaching retirement age. At the same time, the number of people taking LGV tests is dangerously low.

There is no single, magic bullet treatment available for a resourcing problem that has multiple causes. However, the following actions could help:

  • Promoting driving as a profession: the logistics industry as a whole, needs to market the benefits of the profession to young people.
  • Reaching new segments of society: particularly those who traditionally haven’t been attracted to driving as a profession.
  • Grant aid for driver training costs: Perhaps the government could be encouraged to look at devising a scheme similar to student loans.
  • Revisiting ‘warehouse to wheels’ schemes: It is very hard for newly qualified drivers to find work, as organisations tend to prefer more experienced drivers. This is understandable, but if the newly qualified driver is known to the organisation then this may free up supply a little.
  • An invigorated buddy system: newly qualified drivers who are short on practical experience could be subject to a multi-layered induction programme that could include mentoring, performed by a highly experienced driver.

Irrespective of the solutions to the driver shortfall, most people would agree that there needs to be a high-level, multi-layered, inclusive approach to tackling the shortage. We need a multi-agency response with professionals drawn from various backgrounds including; logistics operations, HR and training, youth education and career advice, corporate social responsibility and marketing to tackle the problem through an integrated action plan.

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