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Trucking Industry UK

Lorry drivers’ wages in the UK rocket

The UK's HGV market accelerates 12.9% in 2021 to defy supply challenge, says SMMT.

A popular jobs platform has revealed that the wages of lorry drivers in the UK are rocketing at seven times the national average.

Part of the issue is down to employers paying HGV drivers more to deal with the lorry driver shortage crisis.

The findings come from Indeed, which shows that wages for lorry drivers rose by 5.7% between February and July.

That compares with average wage growth rising by 0.8% over the same period.

The firm says that the big spike in wages is being driven by logistics businesses that are looking to attract candidates to deal with a scarcity of haulage drivers.

Shortage of 100,000 HGV drivers

Road haulage bosses believe there’s a shortage of 100,000 HGV drivers in the UK currently.

That is partly down to the Covid pandemic with HGV driver testing and training facilities being closed.

Also, thousands of EU lorry drivers returned home and have not returned.

And the new immigration system makes it harder for EU drivers to find work.

The result is that logistics companies are now seeking HGV drivers urgently to deliver their goods to customers, with some retailers saying that some items are now in short supply.

McDonald’s has revealed this week that it cannot serve milkshakes in England, Wales and Scotland, while Greggs has revealed that some of their items are now in short supply.

‘Employers use pay as an incentive’

The head of research at Indeed, Pawel Adrjan, said: “Hiring bottlenecks are driving up wages in some sectors of the economy as employers use pay as an incentive to attract candidates and beat their competition to the best people.

“Historically, low interest in jobs has always translated into increased salaries, but what is unusual about the 2021 recovery is that demand for workers increased suddenly, coinciding with the re-opening of the economy – and employers appear to have responded swiftly.”

However, the fastest rise in wages wasn’t for HGV drivers in the UK, instead it was for construction workers.

Their pay rose by 6.7% between February and July, while salaries in manufacturing rose by 4.8%.

Indeed also reveals that between ‘Freedom Day’ when Covid regulations were relaxed and July, job postings on the site rocketed by 83% to highlight the demand for workers from employers.

Shortages in the UK’s supermarkets

Meanwhile, this week has also seen various retailers highlighting that there could be shortages in the UK’s supermarkets at Christmas.

Among them is John Allan, the chairman of Tesco, who is urging the government to alter the post-Brexit visa rules for hiring EU lorry drivers.

He says that’s the only way to resolve the logistics issues with manufacturers and meatpackers also revealing that they have large worker shortages.

Mr Allan told Radio 4’s ‘World at One’ programme, that this is the time when supermarkets would be building up stock levels ahead of Christmas demand, but they are struggling to do so.

Ageing profile of HGV drivers

He highlighted that the supermarket is short of drivers and there’s also an issue with the ageing profile of HGV drivers in the UK.

Mr Allen said: “Certainly Brexit has been a contributor, but also higher wages and improving economies in some countries that they have historically come from has led to that flow.”

The managing director of Iceland has also revealed this week that stock building from September will be an issue and shoppers should be aware that there may be big shortages in supermarkets at Christmas.

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