Fears mount of the looming crisis in delivery driver vacancies by 2026

The gap between drivers retiring and new drivers entering the workplace is set to dramatically increase over the next few years and unless dramatic action is taken quickly there will be a crisis across the whole of Europe and the UK of up to 2 million driver shortages.

This will impact on all sectors including bus and coach drivers as well as delivery and haulage. The industry has failed to attract young people into the profession and is still hugely under-represented by women, with less than 2% of women in 2021 behind the wheel professionally.

Interestingly, women are now over 7% more likely to pass their HGV test than men, with a pass rate in 2021 of 64.8% and men now at 56.9%.

Encouraging women into the industry isn’t going to solve the crisis there needs to be an investment in training and development for young people and also in the facilities available for drivers across the UK.

The last time I visited a service station the truck driver area was bursting at the seams, and you will often see HGV drivers parked up for their rest breaks in laybys when they can’t access local stop points. This is clearly not acceptable and when you are trying to encourage new entrants to the industry, this would be something that would definitely put me off.

The IRU are calling both public bodies and the private sector to work more closely together and to focus on 3 key issues:

  • Reducing the age to 18 and 17 for drivers to start to learn
  • New subsidies need to be made available to drivers as it can be expensive to gain your licence.
  • Planning rules need to be relaxed to enable new driver stops to be built with unisex and safe spaces for drivers to stop eat and rest.

It can take a new driver up to 8 weeks to get their licence and it can still be the DVLA that can cause issues with delays for new drivers. This is frustrating for the industry and although there have been significant improvements in the backlog the industry needs these licence applications to be fast-tracked.

Average salaries for an HGV driver now sit above the national averages at around £32,000 with new drivers starting at £21,500 but with the current shortages, these are often fast-tracked to keep new drivers financially motivated


Our team at Axiom Personnel work closely with the logistics industry and are talking to potential driver candidates every day, if you need help with unfilled vacancies, please get in touch with me today.