Road Transport firms across the UK and Europe are quickly heading towards a crisis. According to new research from Transport Intelligence, a leading global logistics market research organisation, there is a growing driver shortage crisis of over 150,000 unfulfilled jobs across Europe. There are already trucks parked at locations across Europe with no drivers for them, and with no change in current trends likely, the crisis is only going to continue to grow.
Each year, more and more drivers are leaving the industry due to retirement, and new drivers are not joining the industry at a rate which replaces them. Supply chains are strained, and will eventually come to gridlock unless changes can be made in an industry that has traditionally struggled to attract new talent.
A great potential career move
Truck driving is a lucrative career that can afford flexibility and multiple routes of progression. Yet, it is an industry with an ageing workforce that is in desperate need of attracting fresh talent. The industry must work hard to showcase its benefits to a younger demographic, and highlight the great career that can be achieved working in this sector.
The European Road Freight Transport Report 2018, an in depth look at the European Logistics market, shows that in just six countries – the UK, Germany, France, Denmark Sweden and Norway – the shortage of drivers adds up to nearly 130,000. This does not include over 20 other European countries, which trends would imply are experiencing the same issues making the true potential figure much larger than what has been reported so far. The report states: ‘In Germany, the DSLV transport union reports that in the next 15 years, two-thirds of drivers will retire. Germany is already facing a shortage of 45,000 truck drivers, with around 30,000 leaving the profession every year. This compares with only 2,000 people receiving truck-driving qualifications each year on average’.
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The industry must work hard to showcase its benefits to a younger demographic, and highlight the great career that can be achieved working in this sector.
What the experts say
Training Mentor spoke to Tom Cotton, Head of Licensing and Infrastructure Policy for The Road Haulage Association (RHA) who told us: “The UK currently has a shortage of approximately 55,000 HGV drivers. It was 45,000 last year but with Brexit coming up that figure has increased by 10,000”.
He also cited the five-yearly Driver CPC renewal date of September 2019 as another major contributing factor in the shortage. Quite simply, many drivers near retirement age are opting to avoid renewing their Driver CPC and either switching to alternative careers such as van driving, or taking early retirement.
Tom also explained how RHA are actively working to promote a career in logistics to school leavers, both directly in schools and via careers advisors. “The government is talking a lot about the future of logistics with regard to technology, for example lorry platooning and autonomous vehicles. But in reality, developments like these are an incredibly long way off. Some of the messages we see are conflicting too, with restrictions being placed on large vehicles in big cities when in fact it would require 23 transit vans to carry the load carried by one 44 ton lorry. We’re working with Local Enterprise Partnership Schemes to ensure that youngsters are aware of the facts about the future of our industry and the wealth of options available”, he said.
we must nurture and support those that do choose to join our industry, and not let them fall victim of companies whose sole aim is to make profit above providing good service.
An opportunity to be seized
The current situation and trend within the truck driving sector is both an issue and an opportunity. However, in order for people to seize the opportunity and for our industry to change, we must start with education: first, ensuring the younger generation are aware of the variety available with a career in logistics, and then ensuring that they get accurate information about training and employment. It is the latter of these that we at Training Mentor work hard to promote.
We know that with a shortage of drivers, we must nurture and support those that do choose to join our industry, and not let them get caught out by poor training practices, or fall victim of companies whose sole aim is to make profit above providing good service. If you’re considering a career in logistics, we are here to help you navigate the minefield that is logistics training.