Driving the next generation (of drivers)

A man with a cheerful expression drives a white van, radiating happiness as he navigates the road.

Finding good reliable drivers isn’t easy, and when you do find them it’s hard to keep hold of them. According to the Freight Transport Association (FTA) the average age of an LGV driver is now 47, in 2001 this figure was 45. In fact, only 2% of employed drivers are under 25. Although this may be partly down to insurance costs, it still suggests is that we have an ageing workforce set against a backdrop of poor future recruitment. Ultimately this means the industry has a big problem! Where is the next generation of good drivers coming from?

The first thing to note is that there is no shortage of available driving jobs. There is currently a driver shortage of between 30-40,000 roles in the UK. Many positions are currently filled by EU citizens, but with Brexit on the horizon, the future status and availability of those people remains uncertain. Therefore, many companies have been looking to fill roles with newly qualified younger drivers, but are struggling to find the quantity and quality required to service the roles.

The number of drivers claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance has dropped significantly during the last ten years, which is positive. However, the age figures show that not enough of the next generation of drivers are currently making it through the system.

This could be because driving isn’t necessarily highlighted as a career path for school or college leavers. Many go into blue collar roles, for a specific trade such as joinery, automotive repair or plastering, all of which are likely to require driving at some point. In addition, younger people aren’t necessarily made aware that they can forge a successful career as a delivery driver or travelling sales representative.

There is also the issue of whether it is seen as a role that is likely to lead to progression. Many people who drive for a living do indeed progress into other roles, but this is rarely highlighted in the media, socially or in trade magazines, which perhaps creates a perception of limited opportunity.

Finally, another key issue with recruiting the next generation of drivers is how to find exactly where they are likely to engage. Some businesses are still very traditional in their recruitment methods, using agencies or job sites, instead of harnessing the power of social media and creating appealing digital campaigns designed to target younger people where they naturally spend their time.

To address these issues, it is vital that collectively we look at what is being said to young people by career advisors and see if this needs to be adapted. We need to start regularly highlighting successful case studies of those who have joined the industry and progressed and creating clever, thought-provoking digital and social media campaigns that inspire.

There is much to be gained by inspiring the next generation of drivers, who have grown up in a digital world, meaning very little training is generally required on IT systems, mobile technology or different methods of purchasing fuel, as it is something to which they are most likely already accustomed.

Another benefit of investing in youth is the lower initial wage requirement. Once that person is fully trained and experienced that’s a different matter, but it’s a good way of keeping initial costs down and also providing that person with the experience they require to progress and develop.


Apply now for free