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  • Mark Salisbury

Is a salary spike saving the UK haulage industry?

Updated: May 11, 2023

Since Brexit, it’s no secret that the UK haulage industry has faced some less-than-ideal circumstances. From the loss of European workers to long delays exacerbated by Covid-19, haulage companies have faced many challenges in recent years.

One problem which the £32.2 billion industry is facing is an aging workforce and poor retention. With 29% of employees in the industry being at least 56 years old, many are retiring, leaving companies short once of workers. To try to stay afloat, haulage companies have been revolutionizing the role in an effort to keep and attract talent.

Improving working conditions

As a starting point, haulage companies need to prove that their employees’ needs, safety, and happiness are at the forefront of their operations. As a bare minimum, companies should offer transport insurance cover, good working conditions, and adequate rest breaks.

As the industry went under the microscope, many HGV delivery drivers reported that conditions on the road are so poor that it makes their working life unenjoyable. It’s rumored that some delivery sites don’t allow drivers to use the canteen or toilets, despite this being a legal requirement.

In fact, working conditions have become so bad in recent years that the government has committed to investing £32.5 million into roadside facilities – including showers, toilets and eating facilities.

It should be guaranteed that haulage drivers have access to toilets and hand-washing facilities at each site. In addition, it is essential to ensure that drivers get adequate rest and sustenance throughout their shift – for their personal health and the safety of everyone around them.

Predictable shifts

It’s no secret that many people are switching career paths in search of a better work/life balance.

And the haulage industry is no different. With shifts being unpredictable (and often during antisocial hours), many drivers are walking away from the industry in search of something else.

By offering predictable shifts, or at least advanced warning of long-distance journeys or night drives, firms are slowly coaxing skilled drivers back to the industry.

Cash incentives and salary spikes

Amid a cost-of-living crisis, haulage firms are attracting talent with salary spiking and cash incentives.

As well as absorbing the costs of training and studying for advance qualifications, many businesses are offering appealing sign-on bonuses to entice newcomers. This combined with additional retention rewards is helping to save many companies in the field.

Career progression

Just like in every other industry, a lack of career progression can impact employee retention rates. One way in which haulage companies are attracting and retaining talent is by offering more clearly laid-out progression plans.

Firms that are looking to develop and train drivers are reaping the benefits, leaving firms that fail to do so trailing behind.

Final thoughts…

Although the haulage industry has faced many challenges in recent years, the good news is that haulage firms can keep the industry alive. By offering cash incentives, improved working conditions, the right insurance and progression opportunities, haulage firms are fighting back against an aging workforce.

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