Why The Driver Shortage May Lead to More Jobs for UK Nationals

1 October 2021|Related :

Due to a combination of the coronavirus crisis, Brexit and tax changes, there has been a drastic shortage in lorry drivers and there simply aren’t enough to meet demand at the moment.

With a shortage of more than 100,000 drivers in the UK, almost all businesses have been affected, with many complaining that delays in transportation had resulted in shortages of stock and therefore a loss of business.

Why is There Such a Huge Shortage of Drivers?

There are a few contributing factors to the shortage of drivers. The biggest is the coronavirus crisis. Throughout the pandemic and its many lockdowns, travel became increasingly restricted and many European drivers decided to go home. 

The pandemic also created a significant backlog in HGV driver tests, making it incredibly difficult for new drivers to get into the haulage industry. According to a letter to the Prime Minister back in June, 25,000 fewer candidates passed their test in 2020 compared to 2019. 

Brexit has also had an impact on the number of available drivers as the additional border bureaucracy has made it more difficult for European drivers to drive in and out of the UK than before and with many drivers being paid by the mile or kilometer, such long delays cost them their wages. This had led to thousands of European drivers working elsewhere.

It’s also worth noting that the decline in the value of the pound against the euro has meant being paid in pounds is far less appealing to EU nationals and the recent tax changes such as the reformed IR35 rule have also made it more expensive for drivers from outside the UK to work or become employed in the UK. 

What Does This Mean For Unemployment?

With so many logistics companies desperate for drivers, there are thousands of new job opportunities for those unemployed or looking for additional work. 

In fact, in an attempt to help get more newly qualified people into the haulage industry, the government is expected to announce changes to the HGV driver testing process. It’s thought that the key proposal could include combining the Class C test used for rigid lorries and Class E for larger articulated lorries into a single test as there is currently a 2-3 week minimum period between taking the two.

There is also £7,000 funding available through the Large Goods Vehicle Driver Apprenticeship Scheme. 

What are Businesses Doing to Help?

Many businesses themselves are taking steps to employ more drivers, using incentives such as joining bonus schemes and increased wages. For example, Tesco is offering drivers a £1,000 joining bonus and Aldi has increased its driver wages, keeping their title for highest payer in the industry. Waitrose has also given its drivers a pay rise of roughly £2 an hour as well as a ‘welcome payment’ of £1,000.

For more information and advice, why not take a look at our other helpful blogs and guides or get in touch with our team at Ryans to discuss how we can help your business post covid-19.

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