Published on Jan 29, 2021

It’s well known that the UK faces a shortage of HGV drivers and younger people aren’t being attracted into the haulage industry. Recent factors such as Covid and Brexit have only made matters worse. However, rather than focusing on the scale of the problem, maybe the current challenges we face provide the perfect opportunity to take a turn towards a more sustainable future.

According to the Logistics UK Skills and Employment Report 2020, the UK faces a shortage of 76,000 drivers. Suggested causes include changes to the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) rules and the industry’s wider image problem. Add to this the reduction in European drivers due to Brexit, and the huge backlog in HGV driver training and examinations caused by Covid – it’s clear why there’s a shortfall.

To be fair, the shortage hasn’t really affected Monks so far. We rarely struggle to attract drivers; often receiving over 20 applications for each role. Our reputation plays a part, plus I suspect applicants see our sector, waste haulage, as a safe and more stable industry in these uncertain times.

In fact, that’s the thing. Unfortunately due to the pandemic there’s now more people than ever looking for roles, new career paths and a change in direction – and the need for HGV drivers has never been higher. Now’s the time to seize the opportunity to attract the potential talent that’s out there.

But, barriers to entry need to be reduced to enable this to happen. Sorting the training and examination backlog is obviously top priority. And that’s not all. At Monks we do often get young, keen, hard-working 18 year old’s knocking on our door for a job. They offer such potential – which is why it’s so disheartening to not be able to repay their enthusiasm with a role. We’ve found it’s not possible to insure them on our vehicles until they are 21 due to the types of vehicles we operate and the environments we work in being deemed as high risk. As a sector we need to work together to find a work around for such challenges if we are to attract young talent before it gets snapped up on a different career path.

Focus doesn’t need to be solely on school/college leavers either – let’s attract more of those in their 20s, 30s, 40s who are facing job insecurity right now. What are Monks doing to help you might ask? Well, we believe our key role is to help improve the perception of the industry. We invest heavily in our fleet and staff – our drivers have nice, clean, shiny wagons – and the impact of this is that they feel valued, which they are. Just last year we purchased 30 brand-new cabs and trailers, and our in-house workshop ensures the whole 70-strong fleet remain tip top.

Our recruitment adverts often feature our fleet – because we’re proud of what we do, the standards we uphold, the people we employ and our sector generally. Whilst the driver shortage is not impacting on Monks right now, we understand the importance of attracting new, younger drivers to sustain the sector. We're happy to support initiatives underway to encourage new people to consider a career on the roads.