HGV driver numbers stabilising, but skills shortage continues

The number of HGV drivers in the workforce fell by 49,000 in Q4 2021 (compared to Q4 2019), according to new analysis of the latest ONS statistics published in Logistics UK’s Skills and Employment Update.

But with numbers of driving tests increasing as a result of greater capacity provided by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), the number of HGV drivers in the marketplace appears to be stabilising.

Elizabeth de Jong, Director of Policy at Logistics UK, comments:“The new ONS data shows that attracting new entrants to the profession, and ensuring sufficient tests are available, are key to the resilience of the logistics sector. The long waiting list to take a vocational HGV test in Great Britain has been a key contributor to the driver shortage crisis; the data in the report revealed today shows that the DVSA is making progress in catching up on the testing backlog which grew out of the restrictions under the COVID-19 pandemic. Logistics UK will be working with its members and government to ensure focus remains on reducing the shortfall in HGV drivers.”

According to Logistics UK’s figures, 27,144 HGV vocational tests were undertaken in Q4 2021, representing a 53.5% increase compared with Q4 2019.

National statistics released this week show that the number of HGV drivers in the workforce continues to fall, but this is stabilising. There was a decrease of 49,000 drivers in Q4 2021, compared to Q4 2019, which is broadly the same as Q3 2021, but significantly less than the fall in the previous quarter.

“The number of van drivers in the workforce is soaring, with a net increase of 17,000 of these workers in Q4 2021, owing possibly to new job opportunities arising in this market, with demand for online shopping increasing throughout the pandemic.”

To view the full Skills and Employment Update, please visit https://logistics.org.uk/skillsandemploymentupdate