UK driver shortage ‘eases’
The HGV driver shortage has eased significantly in recent months, as almost half the drivers who left the profession during the pandemic have now been recovered due to an increase in driver test bookings, by more than half according to the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) records.
A total of 27,144 HGV tests were carried out in the last quarter of 2021, showing an increase of 53.5% on Q4 in 2019 according to reports.
However, there is still approx. 49,000 fewer HGV drivers than that reported in Q4 2021 with 2019, but figures show that the DVSA testing is closing the gap.
The government’s efforts to increase HGV driving test capacity seems to be having a slight effect, according to the ONS figures. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) data showed a rise in the number of younger test applications under the age of 45 increase up to 37% from 33.6% and in the 34-39 age bracket, there are more than 30,000 drivers compared with about 25,000 two years ago.
Despite these rising numbers, the industry is still unable to prevent a steady flow of HGV drivers leaving the profession. Around 9,000 HGV drivers under the age 45 left the workforce in Q3, almost cancelling out the number of new drivers who entered the workforce in the same age bracket.
With this slow but positive recovery due to the increase in HGV driver and applications, the current industry may not be classified as a “crisis” but it still remains “severe” as the ongoing issues with trying to attract younger applicants and old/new EU applicants into the industry continues to be challenging.