Nearly a quarter of lorry drivers expect to leave the industry in the next three years, according to the largest ever survey of HGV drivers. The shocking revelation from a Pertemps survey of more than 2,500 existing HGV licence holders will further fan the flames of the current driver shortages that continue to disrupt the UK supply chain.
In total, 24% said it was unlikely they would still be driving in three years’ time, with 68% of those saying 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. I think it’s important to put it out there to people, employers and the public and try and prick people’s conscious to say, value these people for what they do and have done all through the pandemic. There has to be that level of respect, that level of professionalism and we need to show the value that they have to us as a business, with our clients, with our consultants and within the greater network.
“What this survey shows is that we need to focus on the three Rs – reward, recognition and respect – to attract and retain drivers.”
Half of those interviewed for the Pertemps HGV Driver Wants and Needs survey said they had always wanted to be a truck driver, but 22 per cent of those were no longer working in driving roles, highlighting a “leaky pipeline” in the supply of qualified drivers.
Of the sample of 2,500 HGV licence holders, about two-thirds of them are currently working full-time. Of the remainder:
- 13% are working part-time, but 20% are not working as a driver at all
- 18% of class one licence holders aren’t currently working as a driver
- 28% of class two licence holders aren’t currently working as a driver.
Drivers pointed out the disconnect between signs at the front of stores saying that they won’t tolerate abuse to staff while, in the delivery bay at the back, they are treated poorly by the client.
In all, 92% said they did not feel their role was valued enough by the general public and 69% disagreed that pay and conditions were good.
Lisa Thurkettle, Managing Director at Warwickshire-based Pertemps, said: “I am disappointed that 20% 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.
“What was really interesting was that 93% of the individuals surveyed came from a white ethnic background, which clearly identifies that we are underrepresented in other groups. Not just from ethnic backgrounds, but also females, and I think there needs to be a lot more work done to make sure that every group is fairly represented.
“Are we doing enough to attract drivers from underrepresented communities? Are we truly listening to them, to the true feedback? We make assumptions of what we know Is right, fair and reasonable for them, but are we listening to the true feedback or are we focusing on the areas that we can personally control? Should we do more when we get the feedback to actually push and talk on their behalf and be seen to support them?”
The survey was conducted with 2,522 HGV licence holders in August and September 2021. As part of the project, diary studies and in-depth interviews were completed with 10 drivers to better understand motivators and mindsets.
A podcast of the full results can be accessed here.