Annie Button, professional content writer and branding aficionado, takes a look at what businesses can do to mitigate the current HGV shortage.
The UK is suffering from a shortage of over 100,000 HGV drivers, as a result of the combination of enough unqualified individuals to fill the roles, the fallout from Brexit and the pandemic leading to test centres closing for much of 2020.
But this shortage is having a huge impact on various other industries, such as food supply and the transportation of materials for the construction sector. So, what can businesses do to reduce the problem? How can employers encourage more people to apply for vacancies as HGV and LGV drivers? Marketing these roles differently could be the solution to entice people to retrain and fill the thousands of available roles that the UK currently has on offer.
Improve work packages
One of the most effective ways businesses can handle the shortage crisis is to provide staff with better work packages, from increased salaries to added benefits that will encourage people to apply. Working as a lorry driver can often mean working anti-social hours, so enticing applicants with remuneration and benefits that they may not be offered elsewhere can help to get people to apply, whether they’re school leavers or retraining later in life.
Similarly, making sure that employees have a clear career path can also be advantageous in filling vacancies. Applicants want to know that their career will evolve in a positive way and not become stagnant, so providing stability through pay increases and more responsibility and seniority for competent individuals, such as gaining your ADR certificate, can be an incentive that will ensure people know they’re a company that will support their career growth.
Sponsored recruitment campaigns
The way businesses are marketing their vacancies could hold the key to getting more people to apply for HGV and LGV roles. One of the primary barriers to entry for many people is the cost of training and testing, which can be difficult to fund for the average person.
But businesses have the opportunity to overcome these challenges by sponsoring applicants with their training courses, which resolves the issue of cost for the employee and provides businesses with qualified individuals at the end of their training. Such incentives can really help to set your business apart from others recruiting for similar roles and can encourage people already considering a role in transportation to apply.
Value current and future staff
Studies suggest that thousands of people in the UK already have HGV qualifications, but they don’t work in the industry anymore. Part of the reason for this is that many people have a poor perception of the industry as a whole or have been treated badly in the past. Employers have a duty of care to protect their staff, show them respect and make them feel valued, both existing employees and future staff members.
Encouraging people back to driving needs to involve better treatment of staff and improved working conditions. There is an opportunity for companies to expand their workforce with people who already have experience and understand what the role entails, but doing so will require shifting the view of the industry and showing that it’s changed from what it once may have been. One way to bring people back while still maintaining safety within the team when they’re on the road is to provide paid refresher courses for applicants who have previously qualified but need to update their experience.
Encourage women to apply
One solution to the problem is to encourage more women to take up driving as a career, putting out marketing campaigns to highlight the need for more diverse driving teams and the benefits that HGV driving can offer female applicants. Currently, research from Logistics UK states that only 1.2% of all UK commercial drivers are women, proving that there’s a definite need for a push for more female applicants.
Businesses have the opportunity to support women through apprenticeships and placement schemes, helping women to gain their license and gain experience at the same time, or provide female-focused scholarships that will encourage women to consider a new career path that perhaps has not been advertised to them previously.
HGV shortages have been a problem for years, not only in the UK but elsewhere around the world too. But over the past 18 months, the combination of the pandemic and Brexit have made matters even worse. It’s now an issue that’s having severe repercussions on other industries and needs to be resolved as soon as possible.
Businesses may be able to minimise the problem through clever marketing, both internally and externally, from switching up recruitment strategies to incentivise the roles and diversifying the workforce, to celebrating workers and encouraging people to retrain or refresh their qualifications. The goal is to change the perception of the industry and showcase the benefits of this work, both in terms of the career progression and salaries offered to the facilities and work conditions provided by employers.