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UK HGV Driver Shortage Now At 59000

Is Now The Time To Train ?

Leigh Gillatt  •  Careers Advice

UK HGV Driver Shortage Now At 59000


There is a level of uncertainty in the air when it comes to all things BREXIT. Whilst the government are pushing ahead with the details of a potential deal, there has now been a general election thrown into the mix... despite all of this, there is still yet no guarantee that the potential deal will even be passed in parliament.

A recent FTA report; the logistics skills report, stated that the shortage of HGV drivers in the UK has climbed to 59,000 as 64% of transport and storage businesses now face severe skills shortages.

Many in the industry are stating that this is due to Brexit uncertainty, a large number of HGV Drivers returning to their home countries in the EU, and AI technology being introduced into the sector, leaving the transport watchdogs concerned, warning of a possible post-brexit crisis in transporting the goods we need in the UK.

According to the report, 60% of HGV drivers are over the age of 44 and only 19% are under the age of 35. The number of HGV drivers is down 16,000 or 5.0% year-on-year.

Source: FTA

Not only will this cause potential food supply issues, but may also hamper the growth of any post-brexit UK economy.

Too few young people are currently considering a career as a HGV driver, so there is now a real need for new driver recruitment in the UK to urgently not be ignored.

How will Brexit impact HGV drivers and driver recruitment?

Brexit could further exacerbate driver recruitment level issues in the UK. There is particular concern amongst industry bodies such as the RHA and the FTA of the impact that a no deal Brexit could have on the transport industry.

Uncertainty of Post-Brexit Employee Rights

Its estimated that British hauliers currently rely on about 60,000 foreign drivers to keep their fleets on the road.

Many of these EU HGV drivers in the UK are choosing to leave and go back to their home countries or other EU countries to work. This is thought, amongst other reasons, to be due to the level of uncertainty around their rights once Brexit is finalised.

Whilst the UK government have stated that any EU citizens currently living in the UK will be able to remain with their current rights this is still up in the air until a deal is either completed or the UK leaves without a deal.

Fluctuating Value of the Pound

Another knock-on impact of Brexit is that the value of the pound against foreign currencies has dropped influencing EU HGV driver recruitment.

With a drop in the value of the Pound, wages seem less appealing to foreign drivers and potential drivers due to the drop when converted back to the currency of their home country. This is making it:

  • Harder to recruit new drivers from the EU
  • Harder to maintain EU drivers already working in the UK

The RHA Is Doing All It Can To Promote The Industry

The RHA are urging the government to ease the burden by stumping up £3.5 million to support lorry-driver apprenticeships, claiming it could potentially save UK taxpayers £30 million in the long run. Whilst the FTA are calling for the Apprenticeship Levy to become a Skills Levy, so previously unused funds can be utilised for more flexible training programmes.

Our Take On The Situation

Our take on this is that for anyone currently deciding on what career direction to take, both men & women, should seriously consider approaching the haulage industry and training to become a HGV driver.

As already discussed there are a large number of HGV driving job opportunities available, and as the RHA reported in Jan 2019, HGV driver wages are increasing at a faster rate than inflation !

How do I become a HGV driver?

To become a HGV driver you need to:

  • Have a full car licence
  • Be 18 or over
  • Get a professional driving qualification called the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC)

Steps to getting your HGV licence

  • Medical Test - Each professional driver must pass a medical exam as part of their training.
  • Theory Test - Your theory test, just as with learning to drive a car, will take the form of multiple choice questions which you will need to answer on a screen in an official test centre
  • Practical training - Once you finish your theory training and get the test results from the DVSA it’s time for you to get behind the wheel and start training.
  • Driver CPC training - Once you’ve passed your practical exam and can legally drive an HGV, you may also need to take your Driver CPC test to drive professionally – if you don’t already have this as part of your licence.

    After you’ve passed all 4 of the Driver CPC tests, you’ll be sent a Driver CPC card. This is sometimes called a ‘driver qualification card’ or ‘DQC’.

How do I know if HGV driving is for me?

If you love to drive, want to travel around the UK or Europe, and don’t mind spending a lot of time on your own on the road, then HGV driving could well be for you.

The best HGV drivers are focused and patient when driving, good at keeping all the required records and paperwork up to date, and can work independently to tackle problems like route changes, delays and bad weather

How much do HGV Drivers earn?

The salary for an HGV driver can range from £28,000 – £45,000 per year, depending on the type of vehicle you’re driving, where you’re driving, what sort of cargo you’re carrying and who you work for.

Looking For HGV Drivers?
View Our Information On Driver Recruitment here