Labour shortages spread throughout the logistics sector - warehouse staff and van drivers in demand

Mon 11 Oct 2021
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

warehouse workers

Labour shortages in the logistics sector now extend beyond HGV drivers, with warehouse staff and van drivers also increasingly scarce.

Logistics UK’s September Performance Tracker found that 13% of traders from the sector were reporting severe warehouse staff shortages, and 24.5% said they were struggling to get van drivers. A year ago, nobody reported shortages of either.

The number of online job adverts for transport, logistics and warehouse positions is double that from the same period last year, according to ONS data.

Extend visa offer

Elizabeth de Jong, policy director at Logistics UK, told Lloyd’s Loading List that while government measures to alleviate HGV driver shortages were welcome, “we are concerned that some supply chain disruption will continue until these crucial roles are filled”.

Additional sectors are also calling on the government to extend its short-term visa scheme to fill key jobs and help the recovery.

A joint letter from business and education leaders to the government, seen by the FT, said the short-term measure was necessary to avoid further problems in the supply chain.

Signatories to the letter include the North West Business Leadership Team, the Night Time Industries Association and London Higher, an umbrella body representing over 40 universities and colleges in the capital.

Not EU applications

According to Eastern Eye, the response to the release of 5,000 temporary HGV driver visas has been slow from EU workers.

There has, however, been demand from drivers in more far-flung countries, such as India, UAE, South Africa and Nigeria.


Concerningly, drivers from outside the EU are unlikely to have the required qualifications to get to work quickly, according to Jack Kennedy, economist at Indeed UK.

Getting the required qualification to drive in the UK “could eat into the time in which overseas drivers can drive in the UK, and this roadblock could blunt the effectiveness of the visa scheme”, he said.

Driver facilities upgrade

In a bid to make the UK more attractive to would-be EU drivers, the government could be about to spend £50m to upgrade lorry parks in the UK, according to the Times.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps is looking to raise funds to go towards around two thousand extra parking spaces at lorry parks and to improve facilities such as showers, lavatories and cafés.

The government is also eager to improve facilities for women so more might consider becoming HGV drivers.