HR recruitment: tackling the driver shortage

HR recruitment tackling the driver shortage 1 | HR recruitment: tackling the driver shortage
By Caroline Gammon | 20th October 2021 | 4 min read

Similar to the recent fuel crisis, some of our cherished seasonal foods may not be available for Christmas (I bet out of all things, brussels sprouts will be ok!).

But is this just media hype? No, the shortages are all very real and have stemmed from a lack of drivers in the logistics sector – a recent Road Haulage Association (RHA) survey found that there is currently a shortage of more than 100,000 qualified drivers in the UK.

The logistic sector is in turmoil, and as a result, recruitment needs to be a priority for all HR teams. As it's currently an incredibly competitive time to recruit, you need to take proactive measures and be more creative when searching for candidates.

In this blog, we’ll examine why there is a driver shortage and showcase what steps HR teams can take to resolve the issue.

Why is the logistics sector facing a shortage of lorry drivers? 

The logistics sector has faced driver shortages for a number of years now, and the impact of Brexit and COVID-19 has escalated the problem further to being out of control.

According to the Annual Population Survey, 16,000 fewer EU nationals are working as HGV drivers as of March 2021, and even before COVID-19, there was an estimated shortage of about 60,000 drivers.

Why has recruitment become a problem in the logistics sector?

For some of the logistics sector’s ageing workforce, the risks associated with delivering goods during the pandemic has resulted in a lot of drivers opting for early retirement.

Additionally, a considerable number of drivers who were placed on furlough feared a loss of employment and subsequently decided to change careers.

Those who weren't placed on furlough and chose to continue working during the pandemic faced the daily risk of catching the virus and infecting their loved ones.

How many employers recognised the drivers' efforts to keep the business moving?

Now that we're returning to some normality, the drivers who were treated badly or not shown enough recognition will have been the first to look for alternative careers or greener pastures.

A number of companies are also poaching drivers with attractive bonus payments and inflated salaries, making the recruitment landscape even more chaotic.

5 ways HR can improve their recruitment processes

1) Ensure job ads are attractive

Whether you promote openings on your own website or via job boards such as Indeed and LinkedIn, you must ensure they look attractive to candidates.

Take a look at your competitors' adverts and review the salaries and benefits against your own.

2) Review your recruitment lifecycle

HR and line managers need to work together to evaluate what's working well and what's detracting employees.

The process review may result in you:

  • Overhauling your recruitment training
  • Updating adverts
  • Advertising vacancies on different channels
  • Introducing a refer a friend scheme
  • Surveying current employees to determine what was good

3) Hold a recruitment fair

Consider holding a recruitment fair at your premises to showcase your company, provide an environment to have informal chats about roles and conduct interviews.

These open days can be a quick and effective solution to bring in new candidates.

*I'd advise you to host it on a Saturday and consider getting something along the lines of a bouncy castle so kids can play while their parents go to the fair.

 4) Offer drivers regular training

34% of employees leave their previous job to find more career development opportunities.

Professional drivers need to attend regular training courses to maintain their qualifications, so ensure that you’re supporting them to uphold their licenses.

Additionally, by helping drivers with their training, you can showcase achievements and highlight potential progression and upskilling when speaking to candidates.

5) Invest in modern HR software

The logistics sector is facing a crisis, and HR Teams need support to attract and retain top talent.

HR requires the right tools for the job - otherwise, you could face an HR dilemma of burnout.

IRIS offers modern HR software that provides Applicant Tracking Systems to support your recruitment cycle from attraction to onboarding.

Find out more.

On-demand webinar: Workforce Management in the Logistics Sector

Looking for more information?

I recently hosted a webinar with Laura Taylor, HR Director, Road Haulage Association, and Leanne Longmate, Group Payroll Manager, Kinaxia Logistics.

We addressed some of the main challenges faced in the logistics sector, including the critical shortage of qualified drivers, diversity & inclusion (D&I), mental health and employee wellbeing.

Watch the webinar recording here, or if you have any questions, drop me a message on LinkedIn.