While the powers that be speculate about what might happen when the UK eventually leaves the EU, let’s take a look at what impact it is having right now.
However you voted in the referendum last June, chances are you will be sick of hearing about Brexit. In particular, you will be fed up of hearing that (a) Brexit will be good for the haulage industry and (b) Brexit will be bad for the haulage industry. Looking at the hard facts however, it is clear that the Brexit vote has already had an effect on the make-up of the haulage industry workforce.
East Europeans are leaving the industry
The dramatic fall in the value of the pound that has taken place since the referendum result was announced means that drivers from abroad have seen a big drop in their income, once it has been converted into their native currency. On top of this, there is a general uncertainty regarding the future status of EU residents working in the UK. As a result, many drivers from Poland, Bulgaria and Romania are quitting their jobs in the UK and returning back to their home countries.
This is having a growing impact on the already sizeable UK driver shortage. Some haulage firms are trying to plug this shortage by offering their EU drivers a ‘loyalty bonus’ for staying with the company. Some have even been encouraging the recruitment of new EU drivers by offering existing drivers a financial reward for recruiting their fellow countrymen.
A great opportunity for new British drivers
While EU drivers have made a vital contribution to the UK haulage industry, their departure is opening up more opportunities for UK drivers. The number of home-grown drivers taking up these positions, however, is not keeping pace with the increasing number of vacancies.
There needs to be a concerted push to recruit and train UK drivers – and HGV Express is here to help anyone take this vital first step in their driving career. With training centres all over the country, we have the skills and the resources to help new recruits take advantage of the current driver shortage.
While issues such as border controls, road safety laws, trade tariffs and operating costs will undoubtedly dominate debate as Brexit gradually becomes a reality, the key priority now is driver recruitment. New drivers are being welcomed into the industry with open arms. And the more new recruits there are, the better position we will be in as we step into the uncharted territory outside the EU.