When it comes to choosing a career, there are probably a few things you’ll think about. The kind of job it is, whether you have the skills needed, and how suited it is to your lifestyle. But one of the big considerations is often how essential the role is – and therefore how secure your job would be. Maybe not in the company at the time, but within the industry. Considering how easy it would be to get a job in your preferred industry is one of the big things for every job seeker, so today we wanted to talk about HGV driving, and whether there is still a demand for HGV drivers in 2021. (Hint: the answer is yes, there definitely is!)
Firstly, we need to remember that there was already a significant shortage of drivers in the UK, so the demand for new drivers has been high for a few years now. However, the shortage has gotten exponentially worse in the last year. In 2019, there was a shortage of around 59,000 drivers in the UK – and by 2020, that had shot up to 76,000. And that’s before we look at the Freight Transport Association , who recently published a new report revealing that 64% of transport and logistics companies are facing a severe skills shortage and predicting that it will only grow over the next few years. Today in 2021, the demand for HGV drivers is roughly around 300,000 drivers, which is likely to increase throughout the rest of the year. So, the baseline demand for HGV drivers has never been higher!
One of the things we can’t escape is what we like to call ‘the 2020 effect’. So much happened in 2020 that had a big impact on the haulage industry and the world at large, but us in the UK it can be broke down into 2 things – Brexit, and Covid-19. And while the impact those two things have had on the world in general have been mixed, their impact on demand for HGV drivers has been huge.
Firstly, there’s Brexit. Brexit has created an awful lot of tension for the haulage industry. There is a lot more red tape to cross in order to ship in and out of the UK, increased paperwork, and an associated cost with that. This has slightly reduced the number of companies shipping outside the UK, but it has vastly increased the number shipping within the UK. Alongside this, you have the impact on drivers. A large number of HGV drivers working in England were from other countries, predominantly within Europe, thanks to the previous free movement and employment arrangements. Now that has changed, and foreign HGV drivers are leaving in droves to seek employment in other countries, where the red tape and difficulty finding employment (as a foreign driver) isn’t so great. This has left a gaping hole in the haulage industry that desperately needs new drivers to fill it.
The second is Covid-19. For drivers, there has been a delay in tests due to Covid test restrictions, though this is now starting to ease slightly. The main impact has actually been caused by the lockdowns. People have had to stay at home for over 14 months now, and that’s led to a big spike in online shopping. Over double at some points. In order to keep up with this sudden increase in demand, many drivers have been working flat out, all while haulage companies are crying out for new drivers to help relieve some of the strain.
So all in all, 2020 caused yet another a massive rise in the demand for HGV drivers!
And finally, there is the new business boom. One of the other side-effects so many people being at home for long periods, or losing their jobs due to the pandemic, is that thousands of new businesses have been started, either as a way to fill time, or as a way to make money. A lot of these businesses are e-commerce based, bringing the total of e-commerce businesses up to around 24 million around the globe. And while many of these businesses are small, some selling only £100 a month, they all add up to more of a demand placed on both haulage firms and the postal service. All of which need more HGV drivers to keep them going.
So the simple answer is yes, the demand for HGV drivers is higher now than it ever has been before. So you couldn’t pick a more secure and rewarding field to move into. If you’re interested in starting your career as a HGV driver, we would love to hear from you. Just get in touch with the team to find out more.
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