In charts: Ageing workforce threatens to worsen UK trucker crisis
An ageing and declining workforce could make the UK’s haulage crisis even worse, figures just released by the country’s Office for National Statistics reveal. While the UK government has moved to mitigate short-term concerns including the recent fuel crisis and a post-Brexit trucker exodus by deploying armed forces drivers and offering 5,000 three-month visas to European truck drivers, there seem to be longer-term concerns that need addressing.
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The report by the ONS shows a general decline in the number of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers working in the UK for the past four years, with most of the reduction coming in the past two years, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It shows 268,000 people were employed as HGV drivers between July 2020 and June 2021. This is 39,000 fewer than the year ending June 2019 and 53,000 fewer than the peak of 321,000 during the year ending June 2017. The number of UK nationals employed as HGV drivers has fallen since the year ending June 2017.
While the number of EU nationals doing the work increased between 2017 and 2020, but then decreased during the coronavirus pandemic.
While the number of drivers has generally declined since June 2017, the largest drop over the four years was among those aged 46 to 55 years.
The workforce is also older than the average across the total employed population in the UK. Between July 2020 and June 2021, 29 percent of HGV drivers were 56 years or older, compared with 19 percent for the overall employed population. Just under 20 percent of HGV drivers were aged 16 to 35 years.
This was lower than the average for the total working population, 36 percent.
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