Logistics UK says the number of HGV drivers in the workforce fell by 49,000 in Q4, 2021, according to new analysis of the latest ONS statistics published in the association’s Skills and Employment Update.

Numbers of driving tests are increasing as a result of greater capacity provided by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), with the amount of HGV drivers in the marketplace appearing to stabilise.

“The new ONS data shows attracting new entrants to the profession and ensuring sufficient tests are available, are key to the resilience of the logistics sector,” said Logistics UK director of Policy, Elizabeth de Jong.

“The long waiting list to take a vocational HGV test in Great Britain has been a key contributor to the driver shortage crisis; data in the report shows the DVSA is making progress in catching up on the testing backlog, which grew out of restrictions under the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Logistics UK will be working with its members and government to ensure focus remains on reducing the shortfall in HGV drivers.”

According to Logistics UK’s figures, 27,144 HGV vocational tests were undertaken in Q4, 2021, representing a 53.5% increase compared with Q4, 2019.

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National statistics show the number of HGV drivers in the workforce continues to fall, but this is stabilising. There was a decrease of 49,000 drivers in Q4, 2021, compared to Q4, 2019, which is broadly the same as Q3, 2021, but significantly less than the fall in the previous quarter.

“The number of van drivers in the workforce is soaring, with a net increase of 17,000 of these workers in Q4, 2021, owing possibly to new job opportunities arising in this market, with demand for online shopping increasing throughout the pandemic,” added a Logistics UK statement.

Logistics UK represents more than 7m people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods.