Brit stuck in two-hour queue for supermarket due to petrol chaos
Remainers have been quick to blame the UK’s decision to quit the EU for the shortage of drivers, which in turn has resulted in long queues at petrol stations up and down the country as motorists desperately try to fill up their vehicles. But research published by recruitment company Indeed on Monday suggests any solution is likely to come from outside Europe.
Government plans to offer emergency visas to foreign truckers appear to have had the desired effect, with Indeed recording a subsequent 307 percent spike in overseas interest in UK HGV vacancies.
However, significantly, the data reveals most candidates are coming from beyond the bloc, as several other European countries grapple with driver shortages just like Britain.
Additionally, it is now no easier for an EU-based driver to get a UK job than it is for a non-EU candidate, with the incentive to apply for one therefore reduced.
Drivers from India, the UAE, South Africa, and Nigeria, and, within the EU, Poland, are keenest to answer the government’s call for help.
Rishi Sunak may need to rely on HGV drivers from outside Europe, Indeed’s research suggests
A petrol tanker loads up with fuel
Jack Kennedy, UK Economist at Indeed, said: “Petrol shortages and the prospect of empty supermarket shelves have spurred the Government into action, and all eyes have turned to our European neighbours to see if the offer of 5,000 temporary visas will tempt EU drivers to return to the UK for work.
“However, we might be looking in the wrong direction, as the fact that so many other European countries are wrestling with their own driver shortages means EU-based drivers may opt to stay close to home rather than move to post-Brexit Britain.
“Fortunately there has been a big spike in interest from drivers from outside the EU.
”For them, British HGV jobs are likely to be highly attractive due to the rapidly rising salaries and sign-on bonuses on offer, even if the visas will only apply for a three-month period.”
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Nevertheless, Mr Kennedy warned: “However the Government’s visa strategy is unlikely to be a complete solution. Visas for 5,000 drivers may barely scratch the surface of what is needed, as some estimates put the shortage as high as 100,000.
“Meanwhile, non-EU drivers will be less likely to have the Driver CPC qualification that’s required to drive HGVs in the UK and EU.
“Getting one could eat into the time in which overseas drivers can drive in the UK, and this roadblock could blunt the effectiveness of the visa scheme.”
Indeed’s analysis suggests Brexiteers are right when they suggest lorry driver shortages are not restricted to Britain.
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Cars queue for petrol in Hemel Hempstead
An aerial shot of the Hemel Hempstead queuing
Demand for HGV drivers in the UK has risen by 73 percent from pre-pandemic levels in February 2020 to September 2021.
However, this is surpassed by Italy where demand has risen by 105 percent and Spain, where it has risen by 95 percent.
Germany has witnessed a rise in demand similar to that of the UK, with German job adverts for HGV drivers up 67 percent; adverts have risen by 45 percent in France.
UK haulage firms are battling to attract candidates by raising pay and offering ‘golden hello’ sign-on bonuses.
Indeed’s graph reveals a sharp spike in overseas searches
Between January and September 2021, the median hourly wage for HGV driver jobs advertised on Indeed increased 15 percent from £13.05 to £15.00, while the median annual salary advertised increased by 19 percent from £30,000 to £35,600.
These pay rises compare to increases of just 1.3 percent across the wider jobs market, adjusted for compositional changes.
Average advertised salaries for HGV drivers have therefore risen 14 times faster than advertised salaries for all jobs.
Salaries of HGV drivers have been rising for months
Also on Monday, Army personnel arrived at a BP storage depot after the government ordered soldiers to help deliver fuel.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak told LBC: “As an extra precaution, we’ve put the extra drivers on.
“The situation has been improving now for I think over a week every day.
“It is getting better and as demand settles back to more normal levels the strong expectation is things will resolve themselves.”