The House of Commons Transport Committee’s ‘Skills and workforce planning in the road haulage sector’ report published on 29 July confirms the shortages of drivers in the UK and calls on the government and industry to do more to support recruitment and retention. It quotes evidence provided by the REC a number of times. We have summarised the key findings for members below:
- The shortage of drivers is related more to the lack of those who are willing to work in the sector rather than with the number of people with the right qualifications or licence
- The shortage will get worse unless action is taken to improve retention and increase recruitment
- There isn’t a single cause for the shortage but there are a number of factors making the job less attractive than it was, including:
- a lack of investment in drivers and driver training;
- poor roadside facilities;
- poor terms and conditions;
- the comparative attractiveness of other similar jobs; and
- the cost of licence acquisition
- Drivers are mostly over 45 white and male
- Shortages could worsen as older drivers leave the sector and demand for drivers grows
- Current measures from industry and government are not being sufficiently targeted or wide reaching to deliver drivers fast enough to address the shortage, cope with the number of drivers likely to retire over the next ten years, or with anticipated future growth
- Any investment in recruitment needs to be safeguarded by investment in retention.
The committee makes the following recommendations:
To Department for Transport should:
- Coordinate activity across Government affecting LGV drivers.
- Work with the logistics sector, insurers and those involved in the delivery of driver training to improve apprenticeships, promote the industry, promote careers advice and raise awareness of the road freight sector in colleges and schools and among job seekers.
- Continue to improve the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (DCPC).
- Provide clear, accessible guidance on skills, funding and support, employer standards, regulation and insurance for young drivers.
The Government should:
- Collect better data on the number of Black and Ethnic Minority (BAME) and part-time workers to access the effectiveness of measures in increase diversity in the industry.
- Assess the effectiveness of all the steps it is taking to support recruitment and consider whether it is representing good value for money.
- The Government should work with the FTA, RHA and trade associations representing the customers of road haulage operators to discuss the issues around the treatment of drivers [at depots] and to consider the merits of a good practice standard or code of conduct.
- Continue to support the industry thorough apprenticeships and loans.
The Industry should:
- ‘Scale up’ its investment in recruitment, training and driver welfare following years of under-investment.
- Promote the sector better in schools and colleges
- Find ways of funding licence acquisition
- Work with insurers to find ways of reducing the cost of insuring young drivers
- Assess the impact of any steps to alleviate the driver shortage on other parts of the logistics sector
- Move beyond the point where the sector appeals mainly to those with a passion for driving and take steps to encourage young people regardless of their background and gender, to work as driver
- Take a more strategic approach to planning for future recruitment and retention
We are pleased that the Committee took on board many of our recommendations including ensuring the driver CPC is improved, the promotion of the logistics sector as a career, and on roadside facilities. The government and the logistics industry should now take on board and start implementing these recommendations immediately.