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Head off driver recruitment crisis now

Warns Skills for Logistics
• Currently one driver in six is over 55 years of age
• Only 8% of driver vacancies last year filled by new recruits
• Driver mobility within industry masks potential recruitment crisis

Employers in the logistics industry must plan ahead to prevent a recruitment crisis. That's the message from survey results released today by Skills for Logistics, which reveals one LGV driver in six is currently aged 55 or over.

With almost one-fifth of drivers leaving the industry each year due to retirement or ill health and fewer than one tenth of vacancies being filled by staff new to the driving industry, current recruitment trends could be concealing future problems for the industry if an aging workforce is not being replaced by younger, new recruits.

80% of LGV driver vacancies advertised last year were filled by experienced drivers, with more than half of all vacancies being filled within a month. This high level of mobility within the industry suggests that drivers are quick to move from one employer to the next and could be causing complacency amongst employers, with only 8% claiming they had experienced difficulty in recruiting drivers with C+E licenses.

While the number of employers trying to recruit staff dropped from 40% in 2005 to 30% in 2006, the number of vacancies in the industry has seen a rapid increase in 2007 – 7,606 vacancies for LGV drivers were advertised in June 2006. By June 2007 this figure had increased 95% to 14,853.

Women drivers continue to be make up a tiny percentage of drivers holding C+E licenses, with female drivers representing only 2% of the workforce.

Ian Hetherington, Skills for Logistics Chief Executive, believes diversity and training could hold the key to attracting more staff and retaining those already in the industry. He explains: “We know that companies who offer continually professional development schemes have a lower rate of staff turnover. Pay and working conditions are similar across the industry so employers need to offer something extra to set them apart from the crowd.

“This could help attract more women to the industry. Just because companies are finding it easy to recruit staff at the minute they can't afford to think that will always be the case.”

• The survey was conducted amongst 1205 UK workplaces, employing 17,299 drivers.

• It covered companies whose core business is freight transport by road, storage, warehousing or courier / postal services.

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