Simply put – yes! Absolutely! This is a question we get asked a lot as an HGV driver training company. But despite all the advances in technology, the demand for HGV drivers continued to rise in 2020, and in 2021 it’s still growing at a rapid pace. HGV drivers are still the lifeblood of our economy, making sure goods are moved across the country, arriving on time and in one piece. Today, we wanted to look into the reasons why HGV drivers are still in high demand, and why we think that won’t be changing any time soon.
The biggest elephant in the room is the driver shortage, which has been going on for a while and is showing no signs of stopping. The UK has been struggling to find HGV drivers to meet demands for almost a decade now, but with recent events the shortage has got even worse. In 2020, estimates said that the UK haulage industry was short around 76,000 drivers – a big jump from the 59,000 they were short in 2019. In fact, the Freight Transport Association recently published a new report revealing that 64% of transport and logistics companies are facing a severe skills shortage and predicting that it will only grow over the next few years. And since HGV drivers are a critical part of keeping goods moving across the UK and Europe, a further shortage is only going to increase demand for new drivers. So before we get into any of our other points, the need and demand for HGV drivers is incredibly high.
Then, of course, we have 2020. There’s no denying that a lot happened around the world in 2020 and it had a big impact on almost every aspect of life, including the haulage industry. In general terms, the 2 biggest events for the UK were Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic. Brexit has caused a lot of strain on both haulage companies and HGV drivers in terms of red tape, paperwork and money, which means less overseas shipping and more internal deliveries. It’s also made it harder for drivers of non-UK birth to remain in the UK, and so there has been nothing short of an exodus of qualified drivers leaving the UK, creating more of a shortage than ever before.
On top of that, there has been a worldwide pandemic to contend with. Because so many people have been at home for a long period of time, online shopping rates are at an all time high. This has had a knock-on effect on the haulage industry, where more drivers are needed to deliver goods to stores, and to deliver orders to customers. And with a lot of drivers tests over the last year being cancelled or postponed due to Covid testing restrictions, the lack of drivers has been felt across the industry. So while the demand for HGV drivers was already quite high, the pandemic has sent the demand skyrocketing to new levels.
On top of the direct impact of 2020, there has been a more indirect form of impact on the haulage industry. Between people having to stay at home with not a lot to do, and people losing their jobs due to cutbacks, a lot of small (and not-so-small) businesses have begun to crop up. And surprisingly, a lot of these new business ventures are in the e-commerce space. Even the smallest businesses are adding to the demand for deliveries of goods to suppliers, and to individual homes, and so the demand for drivers continues to climb. And for that, we need yet more HGV drivers to keep all the wheels turning.
So in summary – yes, the demand for HGV drivers is still at an all time high in 2021. Between the good job security, the pay and the freedom, there has never been a better time to become a HGV driver. If you’d like to start your HGV driver journey, or just want to find out more, just get in touch with our team today.