An investment in driver safety will help you retain and recruit drivers

This month it’s been widely publicised that a shortage of UK drivers is affecting businesses and as a result consumers. There have been gaps on supermarket shelves as a labour crisis hits haulage firms and they’re unable to get goods to shops.

Some of this is in part due to the summer holidays and drivers that have been working flat out since the beginning of the pandemic now taking some well-deserved time out. Then there’s also the issue of the non-UK workforce that left during the pandemic and the uncertainty as to whether they will return to the country. Aside from these circumstances, there are other factors such as retirement, changes in the IR35 rules and pay rates which make for an ongoing problem of not enough drivers.

This week the BBC News reported the following statistics:

“Based on a survey of its members, the Road Haulage Association estimates there is now a shortage of more than 100,000 drivers in the UK, out of a pre-pandemic total of about 600,000.

That number included tens of thousands of drivers from EU member states who were living and working in the UK.

Even before Covid, the estimated shortage was about 60,000 drivers.”

The crisis has seen some supermarkets offering incentives such as bonuses and sign-on fees to recruit drivers but as Rod McKenzie of the Road Haulage Association says “This is a real problem because all they are doing is buying talent from somewhere else. They are not creating talent.”

The real challenge therefore is recruiting and training new drivers.  So, whilst the Government and Home Office look for a long term solution and shorter terms solutions such as increasing the number of HGV driving tests taking place and fillings gaps by providing visas for EU HGV drivers are actioned, it seems a crucial time to look out what companies can do for themselves.

Not only will this see HR departments and boards looking at what they can do to improve pay rates, it will also see Operations teams and Fleet Managers reviewing the working conditions so as to make driver positions more attractive and easier to recruit for.

The good news here is that even a modest investment in safety equipment can go a long way in showing that an organisation is committed to looking after its drivers and values their well-being. This is particularly important at a time when the government has slightly relaxed the Drivers’ Hours rules, which means drivers will be able to increase their daily driving limit from nine hours to 11 hours twice a week.

A pro-active focus on driver safety and the use of vehicle safety products that give drivers a smooth and safe environment to work in will no doubt make the employer more desirable to work for, which is equally important for both the retention and recruitment of HGV drivers.

There are many competitively priced products available on the market now including 360 recordable camera systems, telematics, audible warning alarms, near side detection systems and more. Companies that invest in these products are investing in their drivers and ultimately, the sustainability of their business.

The Parksafe Group have been supplying the automotive industry for over 30 years and as a result we have established ourselves as a leading automotive product supplier. Quality products combined with exceptional customer service ensure that when you entrust us with helping you solve your problems you get the solution you need.  Speak to one of our team today about how we can work with you to address your workforce needs and help you become the employer of choice.