There are calls for HGV bosses to up driver’s wages as the government announces an increase to the National Living Wage by nearly 10% in 12 weeks’ time.
SNAP, the haulage industry’s digital marketplace, recently reported that the industry is experiencing a ‘tipping point’ with a lack of drivers to keep up with increased demand and noted that the biggest reason for the lack of drivers is due to poor salaries.
The average truck driver salary in the UK is currently £15.47 an hour and if this was increased in line with the National Living Wage increase to £17.28 an hour, it would see industry bosses needing to fork out an extra £1.5 billion a year in wages.
The new increase could however be offset, which will come as a relief to HGV bosses. If driver wages increase, the retention rate is likely to increase and thus avoid businesses the extra costs for recruitment and training, etc.
Getting new drivers into the industry is especially crucial given that over half (55%) of existing employees are aged between 50-64, with the UK average being 53, meaning that many truckers will be heading towards retirement in the next decade.
Myra McPartlin, Head of Commercial at SNAP, says: “There has long been the challenge of retaining HGV drivers in the UK, and when you combine this with the challenges faced by Brexit and an increase in demand for delivery services since the pandemic, the industry naturally becomes unsustainable.”
From Saturday, HGV drivers will now get a financial boost, as the government has decreased National Insurance, meaning that on average drivers will save over £900 a year in taxes.
The road haulage industry, which plays a pivotal role in transporting 98% of food and agricultural goods in the UK, is poised to confront substantial challenges navigating continued economic uncertainties, political instability, and technological disruptions. Therefore, the retention and attraction of HGV drivers will be a critical priority for the industry throughout 2024.
Myra McPartlin adds: “With the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and discussions over wages, SNAP is committed to ensuring drivers and fleet operators are getting the most out of their money. Using a SNAP Account instead of a fuel card saves you the extra surcharge from the card companies, for example.”