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Is There Still A Shortage Of HGV Drivers Going Into 2023?

Have you had a walk around your local supermarkets lately? Or had to wait months for an order to arrive, which generally takes 2 – 3 weeks? The answer is yes. We will continue to have a shortage of HGV drivers heading into 2032.

It’s not poor planning or management. It is because we are globally seriously short of HGV drivers. The men and women who bring the stuff we need to the suppliers we use are sadly declining. Research by the International Road Transport Union states a 40% shortfall in truck drivers globally.

What The Statistics Say

HGV drivers in the UK dropped by 53,000 (16.5%) in 4 years – from 321,000 in 2017 to 268,000 in 2021. HGV transport is the essential part of the system that keeps our society moving, and the decline in drivers has been ongoing since before the pandemic. In 2020 there was already a shortfall of 60,000 drivers. During the pandemic, more than 70,000 drivers left. 

Not having enough drivers is having a knock-on effect in those drivers who are working are stopping due to poor pay and extremely unsociable hours. The pressure to deliver stock in the fastest possible time is also huge. Of course, we have seen a pay rise in this situation due to the shortage. However, more needs to be done to increase the number of HGV drivers.

Other events, such as the Corvid pandemic, reduced the number of HGV tests that could be taken. Then, there is the economic kickback from Corvid-19. Drivers are also leaving due to retirement and not being replaced.

The Implications Of The HGV Driver Shortfall

Most households and businesses are already experiencing long delays in orders and a need for more stock on shelves. Historically this has meant knock-on increases in the prices of consumer goods, and it looks like we will be experiencing the same very soon, if not already!

There is a serious supply chain disruption bringing shortages to everyone, and this has been going on for some time. Most research points to it taking at least another year to see improvements.

The UK government implemented some short-term actions to help improve the situation, including relaxing some rules and restrictions placed on UK and foreign drivers to relieve the ongoing backlog of deliveries. The government also invested funding into further training for HGV drivers and to increase the number of HGV tests that can be taken.

There are many reasons for the shortfall in drivers, but we can blame Brexit, the pandemic, and the poor life-to-work balance that drivers experience that adds to our failure to retain drivers. 

As there is not one reason, it goes hand in hand with needing more than one solution to the declining numbers of HGV drivers. The question is, what will the government and businesses do about it? Watch this space for any interesting updates.

Is Training To Be A HGV Driver Worth Doing?

The shortfall of HGV drivers has created an opportunity for those who would like a career on the road. The government is implementing support for people to train and be examined. There is a supply shortage, so jobs are available, and drivers can choose where to work. This in turn, means businesses need to explore how to retain drivers. How can they keep the job interesting and fulfilling with an adequate pay structure? Are you interested in discovering more about becoming an HGV driver? Give us a shout and discuss what you need. You can contact us via our online form or telephone us at the number on the website.


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About L&T Transport Training Services

Formed in 1986 and a family owned and operated business, L&T provides instruction for anyone wishing to drive a vehicle from C1 (7.5T) to CE (artic) and D1 (Minibus) to D (Coach).

We also train drivers in the transportation of dangerous goods (ADR) and the operation of HIAB plant, Forklift and we are a JAUPT Approved Centre for Driver CPC Periodic Training.

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