Whilst redundancy and unemployment are of concern, especially for September when furlough ends, the news in recent weeks for the South East has been of businesses struggling to recruit. An issue that ITV News reported on specifically for two industries – hospitality and haulage.
ITV News reported that there are currently nearly 2,000 vacancies in the hospitality and catering industry across the East of England. With covid restrictions relying on table service, and outside dining areas, many businesses are struggling to re-open due to their staff shortage.
Transport companies have been one of the sectors that have worked throughout Covid. The shortage of drivers in the haulage sector nationwide is being regularly reported in the national press: a problem that will leave supermarket shelves empty if a solution is not found soon.
The industry was reporting a shortage of 59,000 drivers in 2019 and is now talking about 80,000.
For haulage and freight distribution companies in Suffolk, the recruitment issue is real. You can watch the news report here, with Olly Magnus, CEO of Magnus Group Ltd, talking about the shortage of qualified drivers for the haulage sector.
Why has the shortage of drivers increased so dramatically?
Covid. With lessons and tests being stopped, new drivers were unable to qualify and join the industry. There is now a significant backlog but most have found employment elsewhere. UK Haulier believes this has affected 16,000 potential new drivers.
Brexit. Non-UK drivers have returned to their home countries for work, unsure of the impact of Brexit and what it would mean for them. We still have around 60,000 European drivers working in UK Road Haulage but whether that will continue is yet to be seen, post pandemic and Brexit.
Why was there a shortage before 2019?
Reputation. The logistics and truck haulage industry can look unappealing. With an unjust reputation of poor conditions, low pay and long hours, it puts people off joining.
Age. Nearly 50% of UK truck drivers are over 50 which will cause a significant issue as they reach retirement age, especially with the lack of new people qualifying.
What can the industry do to attract new drivers?
The industry needs to change. With insurance premiums making it very difficult to be a driver under the age of 25, the sector is missing out on attracting younger people. Testing and qualifying costs and procedures need to be reviewed to make it easier and cheaper to become qualified.
The industry as a whole need to improve their marketing: for example, only 1.2% of drivers are female. The myths of working in the haulage sector need to be dispelled and the reality of the benefits of the industry needs to be marketed.
There are estimated to be 80,000 qualified lorry drivers working for other professions – we need them back in the trucks.
Here at Magnus Group, we are lucky to have a strong team of drivers – including women. Some of our drivers have been with us for years and we have a low turnover which is fantastic. We put family at the heart of our business and do our best to look after our team. We will continue to talk to the industry and support changes that will improve conditions and make it easier to qualify.
In May we welcomed Arc to our site with their driving simulator which will be used to encourage more people to join the industry as drivers.
Magnus Group, a haulage, warehousing, and freight forwarding logistics company, is based just outside Ipswich, Suffolk, ideally placed to serve the Port of Felixstowe with direct road links to the Midlands, the North, and London. If you would like to know more about our warehousing, transport or global forwarding teams call us on +44 (0) 1473836600 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org. We advertise our driver jobs on our company website: if you would like to join our team, follow our LinkedIn company page and check out our website.
Tags: Felixstowe, Haulage, haulage Suffolk, Haulier East Anglia, Ipswich Haulier, logistics, Pallet Distribution, Transportation, UK transport and haulage services in Ipswich
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