Is the transport industry facing a recruitment crisis?

Articulated wagon on a road

Over the last decade, the transport industry has been facing a huge challenge. An ageing workforce coupled with a drop in the acquisition of HGV driver licenses, is leaving business owners with an enduring problem – where to find new drivers?

According to the Freight Transportation Association (FTA) new driver license acquisition dropped by 25% between 2008 and 2013.

Firstly, attracting fresh talent can be challenging due to the financial implications in training to becoming a driver. With the cost to each individual being at least £3,000 to qualify, it could be seen as a barrier to entry. It could then fall to the employer to fund if they were struggling to recruit from the existing driver pool.

Additional requirements mean drivers must complete 35 hours of training every 5 years – having a direct impact on the most experienced and longest-serving members of the industry. Constraints like this can lead to drivers leaving the profession. Add in the implementation of the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC), fitness tests, and a lack of publicity around opportunities in the sector and recruitment and retention of staff can become a pressing issue.

Last week’s Freight Transport Association Skills Summit focused on the importance of educating young people about the industry and the challenges of effective recruitment and retention.

So, where do you focus your efforts to navigate these issues?

Training support and opportunities

With a clear and robust training programme, you can help improve your current workforce, and improve their skill set. For new recruits to your business, you are providing essential support at entry level.

Performance management

The benefits of improved performance management helps to ensure your workforce is engaged with their tasks and job role. It also can help management to understand the gaps and any additional pressure points, like delivery deadlines, that could cause an employee to depart the industry.

Recruitment & selection process refinements

The perception of what it means to be driver in the transport industry can be off-putting to new recruits, especially with the growth of women joining the industry. Improving the process of recruitment and selection can help improve the quality of employees and their sticking power within your business.

It’s important that before these issues become critical for your business, you take action to ensure that you recruit and retain the best for your business.

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