No Haulage Drivers, No Trucks, No Food Transportation, No Goods Delivered, the UK would very quickly come to a standstill.
The Haulage industry employs approximately 45,000 people, but there is a crisis brewing, due to the lack of drivers. The UK needs an extra 150,000 drivers by 2020. Just now there are 9 driver vacancies for every lorry driver in the UK.
The average age of a LGV driver is 53 – much higher than the national average. Many are coming up to retirement while not enough young people are coming up to replace them. This could have a significant impact on supply chain management – i.e, how goods are moved around.
Look around you now. Most of what you can see has been delivered by a lorry at some part of its supply chain journey. As the UK looks to grow, the economy will need more lorry drivers. How can we be a manufacturing base without an infrastructure to deliver things to the market or to warehouses? This is a fundamental challenge facing the country.
There are five issues that have brought the sector to this pinch point:
- Economic growth – both domestic and international – creates more demand for drivers to move what we are producing and hope to consume.
- The sector’s average age is 53 – much higher than other sectors; 13 per cent are over 60 and worryingly only 2 per cent of drivers are under 25.
- Changing needs around training.
- More directives from the EU that demand that our drivers have mandatory Certificate for Professional Competence.
You have to be more skilled to be a driver than before. We sometimes think that ‘free delivery’ means there isn’t a value to it but driving is a professional occupation that can go places – quite literally of course – leading to a proper career. That’s a perception we are working to instill within school children and others who may not understand what logistics is. Everything you see, wherever you are right now is there because of the logistics. No wonder the sector as a whole is the fourth biggest employer in the country. That shocks people the first time they hear it but we really are the driving force of the economy.
We need more lorry drivers but what are we going to do about it? We are working to overcome barriers to entry. Licence acquisition is expensive. Local initiatives are available to supple people who want to be lorry drivers.
In addition to lorry drivers the whole of the UK’s logistics sector needs well-trained and skilled talent. It might take some time but if you are interested in logistics and driving, it will definitely be interested in you – Logistics is a job for life.