With a national driver shortage, what can you do to find drivers?

Specialists in Driver Recruitment Services for the South Coast

If your business relies on drivers and in particular HGV drivers to operate, then you are probably already very aware that there is a national shortage of drivers. In October 2019, the shortage of HGV drivers in the UK reached a whopping 59,000, with 64% of transport and storage businesses reporting severe shortages, according to the Logistics Skills Report October 2019, by the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

This shortage is due to a number of factors including Brexit, artificial intelligence, low unemployment, and declining EU net migration, but the biggest problem seems to be an aging workforce and difficulties in attracting younger people to the sector.

According to the report, 60% of HGV drivers are over 44 years of age, with just 19% being under the age of 35. Younger people just don't seem to be considering careers in HGV driving. This is most likely due to a combination of factors such as:


A lack of understanding of the logistics industry

Truck driving having a generally poor image

Long/unsociable working hours

A lack of quality driver facilities

What can you do to fill your driver vacancies? Here are our top tips for recruiting drivers:

1. Know Your Market

As there is a national shortage of drivers, it’s fair to assume that your competitors are also probably desperately trying to attract prospective drivers. As such, knowing the industry and your competition is vital. Look at what other employers are offering potential recruits and how your offering compares. Do they pay more? Do they offer better benefits? Do they give free training?

A good market/competitor analysis is an important first step in working out how you should be promoting your vacancies to potential drivers in order to best compete against other trucking companies. It will also indicate where you should be spending your money whilst attracting drivers.

If you look at what your competitors are doing and see that your rates of pay are below average, but you're spending vast amounts on advertising your vacancies, you might be better off re-routing that advertising budget to increase rates of pay. However, if you discover that your rates of pay are average, but you offer much better benefits, you know that's what you need to focus on in your recruitment strategy.

2. Consider Targeting Drivers over the Age of 50

Often recruitment campaigns are aimed at younger generations, with online ads and applications, but there is a large pool of potential recruits over the age of 50. This age group is often better reached by way of more traditional, offline methods such as leaflets, posters and newspaper ads.

There are benefits to employing older drivers as well. The don't tend to have young families, so will often be more willing to work unsociable hours and stay away from home and many will already be experienced drivers, so won't need lots of training.

3. Consider Targeting Female Drivers

The vast majority of HGV drivers in the UK are men and always have been. Even now, only around 2% of the current workforce in haulage is female. There has been a gradual rise over the last 10 years, but for logistics businesses, the female workforce is a massively untapped resource, that could offer a solution.

Strategically targeting women with recruitment campaigns, in a way that demonstrates the benefits of working in an industry, that they most likely haven't considered before, is a great way to find new talent.

4. Consider Offering Apprentiships

In the UK, you can now only leave full-time education before the age of 18 if you have an apprenticeship or traineeship to go to. There are a number of government schemes available to support businesses that take on apprentices and attending careers fairs and liaising with colleges is a great way of recruiting young and enthusiastic trainee drivers.

However, recruiting this way means playing the long game and you won't immediately have a qualified driver on hand. It is a solid investment for the future though and something that could be looked at now to run alongside your other recruitment methods in order to plan for the future.

5. Offer a Referral Scheme

Why not introduce a referral scheme, so that your existing drivers get a reward or incentive for helping to recruit new drivers?

As they already work for you, they know what it’s like to work for the business and will have a good idea of who is likely to be a good fit. They may well also have friends who work in the industry, so a referral scheme could give them the incentive to speak to their friends about job vacancies, when they otherwise may not have thought to.

6. Use a Specialist Driver Recruitment Agency

Recruiting drivers at a time when the UK is 59,000 drivers short is never going to be an easy task, so sometimes it's just easier and more cost effective to call in the professionals.

Recruitment agencies have long had a bad reputation for being an expensive way to hire staff but using an agency can often save you valuable time and money.  Your fleet manager will no longer have to spend hours of time each week trawling through CVs and holding interviews; you won’t have to pay for placing ads on job boards and social media; and most importantly, you won’t have to turn down work because you are short-staffed, potentially giving you quite an advantage over your competition.

However, it is important to use a recruitment agency that you can build a strong relationship with as they need to have a good understanding of exactly what your requirements are. Check that they are experts in driver recruitment and that they pay their drivers properly, so that you don't find yourself having issues with HMRC and the looming changes to IR35 regulations.

Drive Personnel are a specialist HGV driving recruitment agency based in Southampton. We specialise in the transport and logistics industries and our experienced team are always on hand to offer support and advice.

If you need help recruiting drivers for your business, call us today on 023 8069 5600 to find out how Drive Personnel can help you.

What Our Drivers Say...

I have now worked for Drive Personnel for the past five years.  During this time the team have supported me in providing work to suit the qualifications I have as well as encouraging my progression by supporting me in gaining further qualifications.  Looking forward to many more years with DP

I have worked as a driver for Drive Personnel for over 4 years now and never had anything to fault with their management. Their dedication and professionalism really shows - nothing is too much hassle for them

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