The UK’s haulage industry is facing the biggest crisis in its history as it fails to attract young people into the sector, according to a leading truck manufacturer.
Fears are growing that a shortage of truck drivers will turn into a massive void as the majority of drivers head for retirement while school leavers turn their backs on the profession.
Simon Elliott, managing director of MAN Truck & Bus UK, says the industry must work closely with the Government to find solutions that not only shake-up HGV training but tackle the poor image the industry has amongst school leavers.
MAN commissioned research with 1,000 young people aged 16 to 30 looking at choices made on careers at an early age. Of the 1,000, only 3.4% were advised to follow a career in road transport/logistics. The majority were pointed in the direction of careers in media, retail and professional services such as media, law and accountancy.
In the South West only 7% of youngsters were advised to consider the industry, while 18% said they would consider driving a truck for a living.
In March‘s Budget, the Government vowed to work with road haulage firms to find an industry-led solution to the shortage, including looking at funding support and training.
Simon said: “Becoming a HGV 1 driver is not cheap and can cost thousands of pounds which acts as a major barrier to young people interested in becoming truck drivers.“
When asked if a careers advisor had ever suggested driving a truck for a living, 88% replied no, however 25% of all the people questioned said they would consider it now as a career option.
MAN, which employs approximately 53,500 people worldwide, commissioned research to get a true picture of what young people think about the industry at a time when it is facing expansion through the explosion of online shopping.
Simon said: “The Freight Transport Association has predicted a shortfall of 45,000 to 60,000 truck drivers.
“We wanted to know why and our findings not only make interesting reading but look at the advice being given to young people from an early age.“
Mr Elliott added that the shortage came at a time when the haulage industry was expanding with the growth of online shopping.
“Our research showed that 93% of women and 86% of men shop online. This is a trend that is not going to go away, so how will these items be delivered in the future? We asked our panel what their expections were on delivery times for online purchases. 80% said they expected delivery within 48 hours of ordering – I think we’ve got some work to do to meet these expectations in the future!“
MAN’s research follows on from a warning issued by the all-party Parliamentary group for freight transport earlier this year. The report, Barriers to Youth Employment in the Freight Transport Sector, claims there are entrenched obstacles which make it difficult to attract people aged 16 to 24 into the logistics industry. The report revealed that just 2% of all HGV drivers are under the age of 25, with 60% over 45.
Pictured above: Simon Elliott, new managing director of MAN UK