It has been revealed that supermarket chain Waitrose is advertising lorry driver jobs at more money than architects and lawyers with an annual salary of £53,780 per year.
In addition, the supermarket is also offering a £1,000 ‘signing on’ fee.
The move follows a growing driver recruitment crisis, and the firm says its drivers are of ‘critical importance’ and is offering the salary to those who can drive a heavy goods vehicle (HGV).
That’s more money than some jobs being advertised currently by Waitrose, including two senior executive posts.
Shortage in the UK of around 90,000 HGV drivers
And with a shortage in the UK of around 90,000 HGV drivers, there’s a growing issue of delivering supplies to restaurants and supermarkets, including McDonald’s and Nando’s.
The reason for a shortage of drivers is being blamed on a tax loophole for freelance drivers being closed, and Brexit issues with EU drivers no longer being able to access jobs in the UK.
There’s also the Covid-19 pandemic which has made it difficult to train and test new lorry drivers, plus there’s an ageing workforce with drivers leaving.
Those in the industry also highlight that the job’s conditions may also be deterring new recruits from entering with long working days and expectations of sleeping in their lorry’s cab.
Waitrose mega salary for drivers
News of the Waitrose mega salary for drivers was revealed by The Times which highlights that the average salary of drivers with Waitrose has risen by £7,000 over the past 18 months.
Other firms employing similar tactics to attract HGV drivers include M&S and Tesco.
Indeed, logistics firm Gist – which delivers for Morrisons, Aldi and Ocado – is offering its drivers £56,674.
That’s more than solicitors, schoolteachers and architects are earning, The Times reports.
Job adverts for drivers being posted by Waitrose
The job adverts for drivers being posted by Waitrose highlight that new drivers will enjoy a ‘healthy work-life balance’ and a vast ‘range of benefits’, including access to private members’ clubs and discounted holidays.
News of the high wages for HGV drivers follows business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng urging haulage employers to recruit and train more UK-based workers.
This follows pleas from the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and Logistics UK for haulage firms to have the ability to recruit from the EU with temporary work visas.
The RHA’s director of policy and public affairs, Rod McKenzie, said the government needs to act quickly and firms are offering better pay deals and incentives to secure potential driving recruits.
Mr McKenzie told one newspaper: “Certainly drivers’ pay is increasing, often by quite substantial amounts.
“This in turn is a cost that will need to be passed on and given the tight profit margins of most haulage operators that means their rates to customers will have to go up.
“In turn, this may mean more of us paying higher prices for goods, services and shopping – including food prices – going forward.”