Aquarius IT, the specialists in road transport software solutions, has reported a marked increase in the number of agency drivers being employed by its UK customers during the pandemic – with 2020 November and December figures showing a huge 74% increase as compared to the previous year.
Through the company’s ClockWatcher Elite tachograph analysis software, this data first came to light during the trading period August – October 2020when there was a 30% increase in the number of agency drivers being used by road transport operators (as compared to the previous year – pre-COVID). Then in November-December, in the lead up to Christmas, which is historically a busy trading period for Aquarius IT’s haulier customers, the figure jumped massively to 74%.
Guy Reynolds, Director at Aquarius IT, said he believes the marked increase from August onwards reflects the road transport industry’s attempts to recover from the first COVID-19 lockdown, and the economic uncertainty at that time about the pandemic and the Brexit impasse.
He said: “The use of agency drivers during times of economic uncertainty makes perfect business sense. As compared to full-time drivers they offer operators a flexible way of supplementing an existing workforce in line with demand; however, aligned with this, this surge in agency drivers also sadly suggests that many driver redundancies have occurred during the pandemic- we know first-hand for customers involved in non-essential industries that these have, and continue to be, very difficult times.”
These latest figures from Aquarius IT also reflect the statistics from other industries, with the Recruitment and Employment Federation reporting in October that the level of anticipated use of agency workers had already recovered to pre-pandemic levels from May to July. The industry report also showed that businesses were more likely to hire contingent workers than permanent staff during the following three months as a route to recovery from the impacts of the pandemic.