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» 5 Long-Term Solutions for the HGV Driver’s Shortage

5 Long-Term Solutions for the HGV Driver’s Shortage

White HGV driving along mostly empty motorway

The shortage of HGV drivers has been a topic of discussion in both the UK and Europe for quite a while. Not only has this shortage led to supply chain disruptions, but it has also influenced the rise in prices, empty shelves and even a sharp increase in food waste compared to previous years. The trucking industry is crucial, and the crisis could have a prolonged impact on the British and European economies if not handled appropriately.

Food waste was a major problem in 2021, whereas in 2022, the sector experienced both an enormous decrease in talent and a shortage of qualified HGV drivers, which still threatens to thwart supply chain stability and continuity. You are likely already aware of how the HGV driver’s shortage is affecting your company but, in this article, we are going to focus on sustainable solutions to address this issue. 

Read on to learn about 5 long-term solutions from Shoes For Crews for the HGV drivers’ shortage that can be used to attract and better retain talent.

1. Improve pay rates

This is a demanding industry, and the work puts significant pressure and strain on a person’s body and mind over the course of one’s career. The average shift lasts for 9 hours or more, which requires a great deal of both physical and mental strength. Companies must compensate drivers properly as they work in isolation and have to remain focused for long periods of time. With the cost-of-living crisis expected to continue into 2024, managers and recruiters ought to rethink how they will attract new drivers, especially younger ones, which we will discuss further down this list.

2. Encourage HGV drivers to provide feedback to improve working conditions

Employers ought to remember that behind the wheel of every HGV vehicle is a real person who is working a highly stressful job. With that knowledge in mind, it is a good idea for trucking companies to ask for feedback on how to improve conditions for employees. Listening to their needs strengthens communication and builds better relationships. 

Here are just a few of the feedback responses that are commonly mentioned:

  • More favourable shift patterns
  • Changes in working hours and implementing more short breaks
  • Better working conditions
  • Increased security at overnight parking spaces
  • Tightening safety protocols at trucking facilitie
HGV driver using lorry radio to communicate with other drivers and management

3. Attract and retain new talent 

With such a significant drop in qualified drivers, staff retention is key for both new drivers and those who are already working in the field. A large factor is the fact that the average age of haulers is only increasing. According to the ONS, 50% of HGV drivers are over 50 years old and more fleet drivers are retiring, while less than 16% are between the ages of 16-35. Proper measures will need to be implemented in order to prevent the trucking industry from shrinking and to increase retention rates. For example, implementing a succession planning strategy can aid in identifying potential future leaders and provide leadership training in order to prepare them for supervisory or managerial positions.

To help reduce the number of drivers who may choose to leave the industry early, focus on creating a positive working culture and keeping the lines of communication open. This will help demonstrate to staff that the sector is a valuable and accommodating one to work in. Rewards programmes are also an excellent way to incentivise workers and continuous training can ensure HGV drivers are always current on their knowledge and skills development.

4. Invest in training services and programs

Investing in first-rate, quality training programs will give new drivers a good first impression of the industry. In fact, BCA, the largest transport company in the UK, aimed to help candidates looking to start a career as a lorry driver by launching an LGV (Large Goods Vehicle) Apprenticeship program in 2022

For more experienced HGV drivers, consider implementing programs that will address key pain points like mental health, physical well-being and awareness. Doing so will help foster a culture of care within your company and encourage more commitment. 

5. Supply your HGV drivers with supportive, slip-resistant workwear

Last but certainly not least, providing your team with high-quality and durable workwear will help them get through their long, demanding shifts. As we mentioned above, working in the trucking industry is physically demanding and drivers are directly exposed to the elements. They also need to maintain and update their workwear on a regular basis to carry out the job effectively. At Shoes For Crews, we recommend that HGV drivers replace their footwear every 9 months to ensure proper support and care for their feet.

The HGV driver shortage has caused a lot of stress for the industry and its staff. Drivers work in all types of weather, and they need slip-resistant footwear to get through the day. Our Shoes For Crews’ slip-resistant technology helps keep feet secure on pedals and surfaces.

Driving HGV vehicles puts a lot of strain on the body, and it is very mentally demanding as well. When there is a staff shortage, the stress only worsens, which is why it is important to find long-term, sustainable solutions to the problem. Providing the transport industry with optimal safety and protection are two of our pillars at Shoes For Crews. We understand that your drivers must endure one of the most strenuous working environments and it is our passion to keep them safe. From providing them with a proper grip on the pedals to reducing the risk of slips, trips and falls among your HGV driver fleet, we are strong advocates for implementing the best practices in the public transport sector.

 

To learn more about our styles for the transport sector or to receive a sample pair of safety shoes, get in touch with one of our experts. Or download our Catalogue to see more information about our foot protection solutions for the HGV driver shortage.

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