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Survey shows growing skills shortages

07 October 2021

96% OF UK logistics businesses are now reporting problems recruiting HGV drivers, according to Logistics UK’s September 2021 Performance Tracker.

The Performance Tracker also highlighted that skills shortages are growing across the entire logistics industry, not just affecting the availability of HGV drivers.

More than 13% of businesses are now reporting severe to very severe problems recruiting warehouse staff – compared to September 2020, when zero respondents reported facing recruitment challenges of that scale – 24.5% of respondents also report severe or very severe problems recruiting van drivers; once again, zero respondents reported facing such severe difficulties in September 2020.

Logistics UK policy director Elizabeth de Jong, said: “The results of the September 2021 Performance Tracker show that the logistics industry is suffering from skills shortages that go beyond HGV drivers; businesses are also facing challenges recruiting for vital roles such as warehouse staff, van drivers, fitters, mechanics, technicians, forklift drivers and transport managers. While we are pleased to see logistics businesses are taking steps to attract and retain HGV drivers – through measures such as pay increases, recruitment drives, and the introduction of apprenticeship and upskilling training schemes – we are concerned that some supply chain disruption will continue until these crucial roles are filled.”

This chimes with comment from other industry bodies. 

UKWA CEO Clare Bottle recently told BBC News: “We have fewer workers than we used to have and some of this is down to Brexit. 15% of HGV drivers were EU nationals, but the proportion of Forklift Truck drivers is 34%. If anything, warehousing has been hit harder than driving by the exodus of people from our workforce.”

The number of transport/logistics/warehouse online job adverts was double the same period last year, according to ONS vacancies data (provided by the online job search engine, Adzuna) for 10 September 2021. The report also identified that overall business confidence has now recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

Logistics UK’s Performance Tracker monitors the performance of the logistics industry each quarter. To view the full results from the September 2021 Performance Tracker, download the report – which is available to Logistics UK members and non-members alike – via the link logistics.org.uk/coronavirus/logistics-performance-tracker