What can you do as an employer of truck drivers?
Companies in desperate need of lorry drivers are thinking creatively about how to attract the limited pool of candidates to their companies.
- Examples of the steps being taken by companies include:
- Tesco is offering drivers a £1,000 joining bonus
- Aldi has increased wages for drivers
- Waitrose has given its drivers a pay rise of around £2 an hour while new qualified drivers will receive a “welcome payment” of £1,000. The company recently hit the news headlines for offering its drivers higher salaries than its accountants or lawyers.
Support new trainees
Newly qualified drivers tend to need mentoring and they cost more to insure.
Despite this, in a hiring crisis it is worth specifically targeting these potential employees as a longer term investment in your own company.
Weighing up the increase in your fleet insurance against the potential profits you can make – or avoid losing –indicates that it’s a sound long term strategy for most businesses.
Offer apprenticeships and help to train
The joining incentives listed above are clearly designed to partially refund the training costs for new recruits.
You could go a step further and specifically advertise apprenticeships for trainee drivers, evaluating candidates and paying for their training up front in exchange for staying with your company for at least 2 years (or more, depending what you consider necessary). Candidates who may not have considered lorry driving because of the cost barriers may notice apprenticeships in job listings even if they are not browsing driver jobs.
Hire ex-military part trained drivers
Another tactic is to target ex-military personnel as trainees. Former soldiers and other military personnel usually only have category C licenses not category E, but the upside is that they are very skilled at dealing with breakdowns and other setbacks, mature and tolerant of less than ideal conditions and have vast experience on the road, and they don’t cost more to insure the way most new drivers do.
Training former military drivers is therefore cheaper than training the average apprentice and statistically a safer bet in terms of ending up with a reliable employee.
This Ministry of Defence website is the place to start if you are interested in hiring former military personnel.
Help female drivers enter the profession
Each year, 15% of new test passes in categories C and E are women. Despite this, just 1% of lorry drivers are women. This begs the question, why are there so few female HGV drivers?
Oddly, one of the illogical reasons is that women are less often offered a job after being interviewed. Employers seem to have difficulty believing they will be good at the job.
Misogyny in the recruitment process is just one of the reasons so few women end up working as lorry drivers. What is working life like for female HGV drivers? The reality of sleeping in unsavoury places, often without washing or even toilet facilities, may be even more off-putting for most women than it is for men. What’s more, it can be downright dangerous.
Incentivising already qualified women to take up driving jobs is a no-brainer for almost all businesses.
Women are better drivers
- Women drivers cost less to insure.
- Women LGV drivers have higher first-time pass rates in category C and E driving tests than men: the DVSA reports that 65% of women pass first time compared to just under 60% of men.
- Women have far fewer accidents and cause less damage to vehicles and fewer insurance claims.
A scientific research paper published in the British Medical Journal last year reported that male drivers are twice as dangerous as women and twice as likely to inflict death on other road users. ‘The findings prompt the researchers to suggest that greater gender equity in road transport jobs, overall, might help lessen these risks,’ reports the highly respected scientific publication.
The research states: “We suggest policy-makers consider policies to increase gender balance in occupations that substantially involve driving, given the greater likelihood that other road users will be killed if men rather than women are driving or riding.”
Target women in your recruitment advertisements
Facebook was recently lambasted for allowing advertisers to target men exclusively for certain jobs, including drivers’ jobs. Apart from the choice of websites and distribution, advertisements can exclude women purely in the way they are worded.
A glance at job sites shows how many driving job listings specify they are looking for “men”.
Beyond the obvious, the more prescriptive your recruitment is about qualifications and experience needed, the fewer women will apply. Men, conversely, are still as likely to apply even if they don’t have all the criteria you ask for. So think about what experience you truly need and don’t ask for more than that.