Wincanton, Britain’s largest logistics group is calling for more lorry drivers to be trained and really pushing HGV driver training as the shortage of drivers is posing a major industry threat.
According to the largest logistics company in Britain, online shoppers are going to have longer wait times for their orders to reach them as a shortage in lorry drivers is almost at a crisis level.
Call for Action From Wincanton
Wincanton, which has around 5,000 LGV (large goods vehicle) drivers, is calling for action from both the Government and industry to tackle this issue before serious problems are caused to the broader economy and it begins to hit consumers’ pockets.
Figures from the Freight Transport Association show that an additional 60,000 LGV drivers are needed by Britain to supplement the 326,000 drivers that are already qualified within the UK. However, each year there are just 20,000 entering the profession.
Driver Shortage to Drive Prices Up
Julie Welch, who is Wincanton’s HR Director, said that in addition to deliveries taking longer to arrive, the price for delivery could also increase as companies fight over qualified drivers, which increases wages.
She stated that it won’t mean there are no turkeys on the supermarket shelves at Christmas time since more resources can be put into this problem by large companies.
She added that the smaller deliveries will be the ones that end up being delayed, like the ones going to consumers’ homes. Companies like Amazon might be affected. The large food retailers that make home deliveries, as a way to seek efficiencies, might increase their minimum spending levels in order to the deliveries more cost-effective.
Age Profile of Current Drivers Feeding the Crisis
The age profile of current drivers is also feeding the crisis. According to figures from the Road Haulage Association, over half of them are over the age of 50 and facing retirement. The industry is having difficulty attracting younger drivers, with less than 5% of drivers being under 25 years old.
There are concerns as well that red tape might be blocking individuals from entering into a career that pays £35,000 per year and even higher rates for those with specialised qualifications like driving chemical or fuel tankers.
Ms Welch says that rightly so, however, safety and health laws are stopping young people from taking a day to spend in a lorry’s cab to find out what the job entails. People don’t have an opportunity to learn about a well-paying career and the opportunities for advancement.
Another Barrier to Entry
Richard Burnett, who is the Road Haulage Association’s chief executive, says that another large barrier to entry is the high cost to becoming qualified for driving large commercial vehicles.
It can cost from £3,000 to £5,000 to get a truck licence – which is a large sum of money for individuals attempting to get started with the industry -and a majority of haulage companies are small family businesses running on small margins. This makes it difficult for them to fund the training of new drivers.
Wincanton has joined with industry bodies in order to lobby the Government to provide increased funding for the industry in order to support training programmes and apprenticeships for LGV drivers.
So What Does All of This Mean for You?
If you are considering a new career, then this is very good news for you! When thinking about careers, probably the first thing you thought of was not working as an HGV driver. Of course, it isn’t the right job for everyone (no job is for that matter). However, a career as an HGV driver is secure and engaging, pay a lot more than you may think and there are lots of opportunities to improve your skills.
This sector currently has 50,000 jobs – and your name could be on one of them! Or for anyone who is tired of their job, or who are searching for a new career.
The above figures are the number of drivers that are needed in the UK over the next four years so that economic catastrophe can be avoided. It is bad news for delivery companies and retailers, but great news for you if you are considering an HGV driving career.