It is well known that the haulage industry is suffering from a chronic shortage of vocational drivers. Richard Pelly studies some possible reasons for the problem and outlines the importance of maintaining a healthy workforce.

Described for some time in the media as a “ticking time bomb”, the chronic shortage of drivers has moved from a commonplace complaint by operators and transport managers to a front page news story affecting many areas of supply. Operators across the industry are thus unable to fill HGV driver vacancies or have to wait a long time to do so.

The problem is not a new one, however, and research dating back more than five years indicated where some of the main issues might lie. In the all-party Parliamentary group for freight transport report, Barriers to Youth Employment in the Freight Transport Sector (2015), research found that 60% of HGV drivers were over 45, while only 2% were under 25. A subsequent inquiry report, Skills and workforce planning in the road haulage sector (2016) expanded the analysis and identified that retirement and a lack of new recruitment were contributing in a significant way to the driver shortage problem.

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