It is well documented that there aren't enough HGV drivers to meet demand, but does that actually mean there’s a shortage of qualified drivers or is there only a shortage of people willing to work for the pay and conditions the industry offers? A number of trade association reports have suggested that we need between 45,000 – 60,000 more drivers if industry needs are to be met.
Another Point of View
Kirsten Tisdale of Logistics Consultancy Aricia Ltd is an authority figure within the logistics arena who recently disturbed some areas of the industry after submitting a freedom of information request from the DVLA.
Tisdale asked for the numbers of all Category C and C + E licence holders with and without the Driver CPC qualification, to be provided in five-year age bands, documenting her findings in the article “There is no driver shortage”.
“I’m now back where I started, believing that our industry needs to stop moaning and put its money where its mouth is,” Tisdale said.
Close to 170,000 drivers are being ignored
Tisdale's fact-finding revealed that there are 80,000 drivers in the age band 25-44 who are ready to go; more than enough to fill the aforementioned Trade Association deficit figures. These drivers have an LGV licence and they have a DQC, but they aren't actively using them – preferring to keep their hand in “just in case.”
There are another 90,000 drivers in the 25-34 age bracket have LGV entitlement and need to do only a week’s training (without a test) to get a DQC.
In an emotive passage, Tisdale said: “This is about re-inspiring people who took their licences and couldn’t hack the job for whatever reason. If it were just one or two people, then you could put it down to their own unrealistic expectations, but it looks like there are tens, even hundreds, of thousands - our industry isn’t just less attractive to younger people, it’s not that attractive to any age group. So how do we get some of those qualified people to come and drive a truck?”
Industry must find a new way of working together to address its issues: the word “collaborative working” springs to mind as the buzz phrase of the moment, but what does that mean exactly?
Collaborative solutions require everybody to do their bit; drivers need to be shown that they are valued, not just as people and employees but as an integral part of society (how else would your groceries get to the shelf?).
The industry needs an image makeover, whilst reviewing barriers to training to make driving an attractive, feasible and justifiable career path.
This will not happen overnight, employers will need to step up to their responsibilities; accepting low-profit margin jobs are no excuse to pay lower wages. Drivers will need to work in unison to make their voices heard, and influencers within the industry must stand firm on driver welfare and working conditions.
The National Recruitment Line is part of the solution: giving drivers, new talent and those who want to re-enter industry a platform to set out their wants and needs. Employers using our system will be leading the way, targeting candidates with shared values.
We aren’t recruiting …… we’re pairing perfect partners.
Want to find out more? Visit www.nationalrecruitmentline.com/employers
05 February 2018