The UK transport industry could come to a standstill thanks to a growing driver shortage.
The warning comes from research by supply management firm Comensura that said half of specialist driver recruiters said there was low candidate availability and a rising demand creating a staffing gap in
Recruiters said this was largely caused by an ageing workforce and young candidates being dissuaded by the cost of the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC).
Availability is the lowest for Moffat, HIAB and ADR drivers - with up to nine-out-of-ten recruiters saying that there’s a low availability for drivers of these vehicles, while in contrast nearly half claim that there is an excess of standard van driver availability.
Half of recruiters claimed that the time it takes to fill a driving role has increased by over a week compared to 12 months ago, suggesting that the increasing lack of candidate availability is consuming more time for the sector and reducing efficiency. Two-out-of-five recruiters said that the time that it took for a candidate to register with an agency and to be ‘cleared to work’ had increased by a week too.
Around three quarters of respondents claimed that the introduction of the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) is another challenge in recruitment; this is the £2,000 qualification that all bus, coach and lorry drivers must pass before working. The demand for higher pay could be due to the considerable cost of the course that drivers must pay for and then go through regular renewals to remain qualified.
Over 60% of LGV drivers are 45 years old or above, and the average age of an LGV driver is 53, meaning that workers in this sector represent an ageing workforce and many are nearing retirement.
Comensura business development director Jon Milton commented: “The entire logistics industry is worth more than £74bn to the UK economy and employs around 2.2m people in over 196,000 companies, so it’s playing a big part in helping our economy recover. It seems vital that the sector attracts more young people and equips them with the skills to become competent professional drivers so that it isn’t held back in the future by a lack of skilled workers.”