Road haulage operators, estimated to have contributed £13.1 billion to the UK economy in 2016,face several challenges, in particular the recruitment and retention of drivers to meet the current and future workload demands. The long-standing shortage of talent has driven operators to look towards temporary staffing solutions, which reduces the wage cost line and solves today’s problem but is commonly being seen to push up other costs, such as insurance premiums and vehicle maintenance - making this short-term solution unaffordable for many.
A combination of factors are known to be affecting the shortage: lack of investment in industry, poor roadside facilities, role image perception, long and unsociable working hours, the cost of license acquisition and poor recruitment initiatives. It is vital the road freight industry work together to develop robust, sustainable strategies to solve the recruitment crisis.
The National Recruitment Line believe there are notable advantages to having a higher percentage of permanent staff in the driving seat. Permanant members of staff show a greater efficiency through familiarity with their role and vehicle, provide a consistently reliable service for customers and have an increased sense of loyalty to their employer to do their best.
Familiarity with a vehicle and claims experience can commonly be linked. Claims experience has a considerable effect on insurance premiums. Showing insurers that you have reliable, regular, well trained drivers behind the wheel, alongside other risk reduction tools, can help to manage your overall risk profile.
Jelf, one of the largest UK insurance brokers have been looking at measures they can take to encourage fleets to reduce their level of risk. They have taken the bold step of forming a relationship with the UK’s best known safety service, How’s My Driving?.
Darren Jay the Branch Director at Jelf’s Newmarket office says “At Jelf, we believe that auditable data capture on fleet performance, supported by a larger proportion of permanent staff contribute enormously to reducing risk, which will be more attractive to the insurance industry as a whole”. He went on to say “Data captured by a service like How’s My Driving? together with the staff platform provided by NRL will certainly help contribute to driving down claims over time”.
In order to create sustainable solutions to the driver shortage, the road haulage industry need to find ways of working together to make the driving role an attractive career. The National Recruitment Line model of encouraging employers to work together is an aid to businesses who want to invest in employees for long-term retention.
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* Statistics and information taken from ONS Annual Business Survey 2017 and the House of Commons Transport Committee Fourth Report of Session 2016-17.
17 October 2018