// The HGV driver shortage has eased significantly in recent months
// The number of HGV drivers in the UK grew by 30,000 in the third quarter
// Almost half the drivers who left during the pandemic have now been recovered
New research has found that the HGV driver shortage has eased significantly in recent months, as almost half the drivers who left the profession during the pandemic have now been recovered.
The number of HGV drivers in the UK grew by 30,000 in the third quarter, reflecting a 40 per cent recovery in the drop in numbers since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the ONS quarterly labour survey.
However, the research also suggested that the industry is still unable to halt a steady flow of drivers leaving the profession.
Around 9000 HGV drivers under the age 45 left the workforce in the third quarter.
The government’s efforts to increase driving test capacity, meanwhile, seems to be having an effect, according to the ONS figures.
The number of drivers under 35 grew by 5000.
In total, the number of HGV delivery drivers grew from 233,000 in the second quarter to 261,000 in the third quarter, still short of the 301,000 in workforce before the pandemic.
The Road Haulage Association has now revised its estimate of the scale of shortage from 100,000 down to 80,000.
The driver shortages meant retailers had to handle and distribute products more efficiently as warehouses and driver availability come under pressure.
Retailers who had offered sign-on fees for new drivers, called on the government to relax immigration rules in order to encourage lorry drivers from overseas to come to work in the UK, but that plea was rejected.