The UK’s road transport industry has come under pressure in recent months, with a shortage of drivers disrupting all facets of the supply chain. A survey from Pertemps indicates that the situation will get worse before it gets better.

A survey of more than 2,500 existing HGV licence holders in the UK revealed that 24 percent of those asked did not expect to be driving in three years’ time. 68 percent of those said it was down to poor conditions of life as a lorry driver.

“I literally was bowled over by the starkness of how these people feel,” said John Poliquin, director of Pertemps Driving Academy. “Yes, I’ve always understood money, salary and earnings potential would be up there as a high point, but the other findings about how they are going to stay in the industry, how they are going to feel valued, those stats were shocking.” 

Half of those interviewed for the Pertemps HGV Driver Wants and Needsurvey said they had always wanted to be a truck driver, but 22 percent of those were no longer working in driving roles, highlighting a “leaky pipeline” in the supply of qualified drivers.

“What this survey shows is that we need to focus on the three Rs – reward, recognition and respect – to attract and retain drivers,” said Poliquin.

Of all those surveyed, 92 percent said they did not feel their role was valued enough by the general public and 69 percent disagreed that pay and conditions were good.

Lisa Thurkettle, managing director at Pertemps, added: “I am disappointed that 20 percent of the surveyed drivers no longer work in the industry and what a wasted opportunity that is.

“Out of that, only a small proportion of them might be retired. You look at that and think, well that’s a big cohort of individuals that have that skill and ability and are choosing not to do that job anymore, and if we all did something differently could we have retained them?

“So, I think that’s something I’m disappointed to see and I think I want to really work hard at seeing what we can all do differently to retain that skillset.”

A summary slide deck of the survey results can be accessed here.