The issue of Brexit is also playing on many logistics providers minds and the further impact this may have on staff shortages.  We also need to consider the impact of autonomous vehicles in the long term and how that could positively impact the industry.

There are differing opinions about the size of the problem, however, we know that UK needs somewhere between 45,000 and 60,000 drivers to meet our needs. With the average age of a driver being 53 and with only 2% of employees under 25 – this shows a growing deficit.

Making the industry more desirable is often quoted as being a solution but there are other reasons that can put people off joining the industry.  This ranges from the significant cost to train, strict medicals and the additional qualities needed in addition to being a good driver.  That’s not to say high professional standards aren’t needed, only that it needs to be considered as part of the issue in the round.   Once we have people, how do we stop them from leaving? It is reported that there are 600,000 people trained as drivers, but only 300,000 are currently employed as one.  But how can we, collectively, as an industry try to tackle this seemingly insurmountable problem? 

The answer is we all have a role to play. Employers need to provide variety within a role and opportunity to grow and develop, meanwhile the media need to stop painting HGV’s in a bad light.  Educators too need to make young people aware of the vast opportunities that can be found in the logistics industry, whilst the government and local authorities should provide facilities that drivers can use when travelling.

But who do we need to promote the industry too?  We need to focus on employers yes, but also careers advisors to help them to understand the range of opportunities open to people.  There should also be a push to consider the untapped resources; for example ex-military, long term unemployed and ex-offenders trying to make their way back into society.

So as a final thought, what do you think we need to do to provide an open door to all parts of society, to create a welcoming, professional and future focused industry that attracts and keeps the best?

This blog was written by Morag White,  Associate - Logistics

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