If you, or somebody you know, is seeking a new career then I have some news which may be of interest to you. The UK is currently suffering from a severe lack of qualified HGV drivers, so anybody seeking employment should consider the haulage industry. |
The current situation could see those joining the workforce benefit from great prospects, plenty of work and the ability to earn well. There is such a shortage, in fact, that the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has announced that there is a shortfall of a whopping 45,000 employees. Unless action is taken soon to recruit more potential drivers, this number is only set to increase due to the ageing of the existing workforce.
The FTA has been calling for the government to support the industry for a long time. After an FTA report showed that 91% of companies were struggling to recruit new drivers, the problem has been acknowledged by Transport Select Committee and a government task force has been set up to tackle the issue.
The Reasons for the Shortage
It is difficult to pinpoint the exact reason for this extreme shortage, but some in the industry state hypothesize that because haulage jobs are largely dominated by white males (94%), those outside this demographic are deterred. This is something that they would like to change by recruiting and retaining women and people from minority groups. Currently, just 1% of HGV drivers in the UK are female and experts attribute this imbalance to perceived safety factors and the lack of roadside facilities (which has emerged as an enormous issue for hauliers recently).
Another contributing factor is that those who have recently qualified can struggle to find employment. This seems bizarre as there is such demand in the industry, yet many haulage companies want experienced motorists and recruits of a certain age. Consequently, many companies fill gaps with sub-contractors who work for very small amounts and sometimes live in their cabs.
The skills shortage could potentially have a severe impact on the economy, which relies very heavily on the transportation of heavy goods so the government has intervened by helping businesses to recruit and retain new drivers in full-time employment.
Change on the Horizon
As of April 2017, the new Apprenticeship Levy Tax will come into effect where large employers pay to train staff (another enormous problem in the UK). Additionally, some companies are lowering their minimum hiring age and others have joined forces with recruitment services to find haulage jobs for newly qualified drivers. Finally, roadside facilities have been targeted as a key issue and improving these should help to retain workers and improve life on the road.
A Promising Career
If you are considering entering the haulage industry, getting qualified to operate an HGV in 2017 could set you on the path to a very rewarding and profitable career. With so much demand and positive change on the horizon, newly qualified drivers should be able find a wide range of haulage jobs. The outlook is increasingly positive for recruits, so those seeking employment opportunities should seriously consider truck driving as a career.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage jobs with available drivers. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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