HGV driver shortage easing, but will it be short-lived?

Jan 21, 2022
Author: Paul Wormald
Paul is a partner at our Doncaster office. Paul specialises in advising small businesses and businesses in the transport & logistics sector. Paul also specialises in providing cloud accounting services to our clients.
HGV Driver Shortage

Pallet-Track chief executive Caroline Green has reported there are promising signs that we could be through the worst of the HGV driver shortage crisis.


Wage increases and more tests easing HGV driver shortage

Since the height of the HGV driver shortage in September 2021, which was largely caused by the ‘pingdemic’ and Brexit-related issues, we have seen the noise around the HGV driver subside for a number of reasons.

Firstly, there have been significant pay rises across the sector. This has persuaded many drivers to return to the sector to take advantage of these increased rates of pay. Furthermore, bonuses and flexible shift patterns, as well as the implementation of government schemes, such as Skills Bootcamps, and fast-tracking HGV driver tests have helped ease the shortage.

However, top haulage and logistics firms have warned that wage increases will need to be maintained, else the easing of the HGV driver shortage may be short-lived.

Secondly, we are now seeing more HGV tests being conducted. Caroline Green believes that more trainee HGV drivers are coming through the testing system, but says that more needs to be done to make the sector a more attractive job prospect for new recruits.


Underlying causes of HGV driver shortage still unresolved

Despite this Caroline Green has warned that issues such as Driver CPC becoming unpopular among older HGV drivers and low-quality facilities are still yet to be resolved.

With the Omicron variant of COVID-19 still being a concern, another ‘pingdemic’ could create another severe HGV driver shortage.

Although the HGV driver shortage is easing and we are not in a state of crisis, many haulage and logistics firms are reporting that they are still short of drivers and that the driver situation is not ideal.

The underlying issues currently facing the sector mean that we are only another ‘pingdemic’ away from a potential HGV driver crisis.

Paul Wormald, Transport partner for Hawsons commented:

We commented last year how the Nation’s lorry drivers are an often neglected element of the UK’s workforce, often having to work long, unsociable hours in less than ideal working conditions, and how they are indispensable to the UK economy.

From a macro economic viewpoint, it is good to hear that this acute pressure on the sector may be beginning to ease as pure economics dictate that if there is a scarcity of properly trained drivers, then hauliers are likely face increasing wage costs to attract the drivers they need. This in turn will filter its way to end-users in increased prices.

The early signs of stabilisation in the market for drivers may bring some marginally increased certainty for haulage firms anxious about spiralling wage bills, however, it would seem that there is still some way to go to bring longer-term certainty to the HGV driver market.


How can we help?

At Hawsons we have a dedicated team of transport and logistics accountants at our offices in Sheffield, Doncaster, and Northampton.

We act for a large number of clients in this sector across our three offices, ranging from hauliers to international couriers, and understand the challenges this dynamic sector faces.

Nearly every other commercial sector is reliant on the services transport and logistic businesses provide and, in many ways, this specialist sector is the linchpin for our country’s economy.

With our experience in the transport and logistics sector we are able to develop a close understanding of your business and, through active year round involvement, we can help you anticipate and deal with challenges quickly and effectively.

More from our transport and logistics experts

You can find all of our latest transport and logistics sector news and newsletters here.

If you are looking for advice in a particular area, please get in touch with your usual Hawsons contact.

Alternatively, we offer all new clients a free initial meeting to have a discussion about their own personal circumstances – find out more or book your free initial meeting here. We have offices in Sheffield, Doncaster and Northampton.

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Paul Wormald

Partner, Doncaster


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