Growing concern over the future of UK Transport and Logistics industry
The transport and logistics industry has been one of the few sectors to maintain a steady growth, albeit a slow growth, despite the height of the recession.
However, despite this growth, the staff acquisition and retention rate remains a serious issue for the industry and has remained well below other industries.
The Freight Transport Association first raised the concern of the receding workforce during a conference in 2003. They identified the lack of skills and aging personnel as the main problems affecting the industry.
In the years following the conference there have been little apparent changes with jobs in the sector not appealing to the younger generations. An influx of foreign drivers in the mid 2000s have kept the UK’s logistics industry afloat to a certain extent, however there is still a large shortage of LGV drivers.
Of the 300,000 semi-trailer trucks on the UK roads each day, almost half is driven by drivers aged between 45 and 59, with only 1% of drivers aged under 25, indicating the industry is not the profession of choice for young men these days.
It is often argued that by employing young drivers there is an increase in insurance premiums. However, despite young LGV driver insurance being more costly, the majority of businesses are actively looking to employ drivers due to their long-term perspective and stability.
In addition, only 1% of all drivers are women. Vehicles no longer require a lot of strength to handle so there is no reason for the shortage of female drivers.
One of the main reasons for the ever-receding LGV drivers’ population is the new legislation and licensing regulations, first introduced in 2009. The Driver Certificate of Professional Competence became compulsory for everyone driving a truck heavier than 3.5 tonnes.
There are several Certificate of Professional Competence training centres across the country. Renewing a Certificate of Professional Competence involves undergoing a 35-hour course once every 5 years. However the complexities involved with the Certificate of Professional Competence meant a number of drivers found it too much and decided to change profession, therefore leaving a large hole in the transport and logistics companies’ staff lists.
The alarming facts of the situation are that the UK industry needs more drivers. At present, 60% of the national flow of goods is carried out on the roads.
The LGV sector alone is currently worth an annual £22 billion; however it is currently handicapped by the employment issues.
In 2012, the transport and logistics industry is a good place to work for drivers. The demand for good drivers significantly exceeds the supply and therefore the average wage for an LGV driver has increased rapidly in recent years.
There is still potential for growth in the future and this can be achieved through increasing awareness among the younger generations. The Skills for Logistics charity is campaigning nationwide to encourage young people to consider LGV driving as their future exciting and rewarding career choice.
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