V8 State of Mind

The Lorry Driver Shortage: Is NMW rise to blame?

The Lorry Driver Shortage: Is NMW rise to blame?



Another quick-fire post for you this Friday.

Something caught my eye this week, and I think it deserves your attention.


A recruitment firm's claimed that the number of professional wagoners in the UK has been negatively impacted by the recent rise in the National Minimum Wage (NMW).


The rise, which was enforced at the start of April, is helping to drive potential recruits away from the industry, they say.


As reported in an article by the Stoke Sentinel, recruitment agency Premier Placement Services announced that the ever-growing shortage of HGV drivers is a sad consequence of the NMW rise.

Why? Because youngsters who would otherwise have considered a career in logistics are opting instead for 'safer work', made more attractive by the enlarged wage packet.


Well, you can't make an omelette without breaking etc etc. Road haulage, however, is an industry whose eggs have not only been broken, but ground under boot-heels and spat on, for good measure.


The road freight skills gap has been a talking point for some time. Back in December, a few of you aired your views as to what's responsible for the shortfall. This new factor, in the long-run, could be just another nail in the coffin.


Russel Lunn, senior driving consultant for the agency, commented:

“Drivers are only getting an extra £2 to £3 an hour to drive extremely dangerous vehicles on our increasingly busy roads.

“More and more drivers are coming out of the industry as they can nearly earn as much working close to home in warehouses or production environments, with far less risk to themselves and their families.

“This in turn is having a further impact on the driver shortage alongside less incentives for new drivers to join the industry.”


Lorry Driver Shortage - Incentivization


There are some who are more optimistic, though. Or at least, are making the effort to be so.


Trade union Unite, for example, carried out a survey which found that 29% of HGV drivers had at some point fallen asleep at the wheel. The union said this situation could be alleviated if the government provided a greater number of roadside facilities.




The FTA is also among those leading the campaign for better driver facilities. The association's been banging on the State's door for a while now, demanding they recognize the hazardous circumstance in which the sector finds itself.

Numerous programmes, designed to encourage new blood into the industry, have also been popping up at quite a rate.

One of them, Warehouse to Wheels, is intended to combat the very issue mentioned by Lunn. The programme is intended to reverse the recent migration of drivers to warehouse-based roles; instead, getting workers off the production line and into the cab.


Whether these initiatives will fall flat or succeed isn't a question for the present. One stumbling block, however, is that some of these schemes survive on funding from the EU. That gives them...let's see...less than a year to make hay.


Anyway, I'll leave that where it is for now. What do you think of these schemes - are they full of promise, or destined to fail?


In fact, are programmes like this even the best way to tackle the issue, or would a UK-wide, State-sponsored PR blitz be more suitable?


And what are the odds of the latter even happening?


As always, slam your two cents down in the comment section below.


If you want more information on the driver shortage, my colleague Chris Allen will be covering it in his next webinar. The webinar will be open-forum style, where you will be able to ask your questions and get them answered - comprehensively and directly - within a mere 30 minutes.


Don't worry - you can take your hand out of your pocket. These webinars are free; free to register, free to attend. Select your preferred date here:


Ask Chris Now



Picture of Rex Grainger
Written by Rex Grainger

Chronicling life behind the V8; off the analogue, on the RTD and very vroom-vroom...

Drivers' Hours Query?

Found this information useful? Sign up for a monthly update: