The logistics industry continues to face forklift driver shortages.

The focus has been on the lack of HGV drivers over the last couple of years and this has overshadowed the growing crisis in qualified forklift drivers in the Warehousing industry.

Warehouses rely on qualified forklift drivers to operate efficiently, and the lack of drivers creates vulnerability in being able to meet orders and supply chains become fragile. This shortage continues to fuel the need for greater automation in warehouses and supply chains.

We are constantly hearing about the automation within Amazon Warehouses and the drive for new technology, Amazon has already deployed more than half a million robotics in its facilities around the world. They have also invested in their own technology business and are innovators in robotic pickers which are still not fully functional as they can only lift up to 2lbs in weight which is half of the items sold.

Linde, one of the largest forklift manufacturers highlighted the labour shortages in a report back in 2022, where they spoke about the continued drive for automation and their teams are experiencing a major upturn in enquiries for extended automation. More than 50% of most distribution centres’ staff are involved in picking, packing and shipping orders and Linde are seeing considerable interest in the automation of these areas. Linde has already heavily invested in automation and this has continued since the pandemic and the enormous growth in online shopping.

Although there is heavy investment in automation, there is still the immediate issue of the lack of qualified and experienced drivers.

In October 2022, the RTITB reported a surge in registrations for new Lift Truck instructor courses, training of new instructors fell behind during the pandemic and the industry is now having to fast-track trainers through these courses to ensure training of new drivers can take place in warehouses and distribution centres across the county.

If you are looking to recruit warehouse staff and specifically forklift drivers our team of expert recruiters can help.