Vacancies for transport jobs reached a three year high in October, with more than double the number of unfilled jobs for HGV drivers this year than were available at the same time in 2009.
Overall, transport and associated vacancies increased by 60 per cent on October last year from 54,460 to 87,422 this year.
Vacancies for HGV drivers increased to 25,720, up from 11,041 in 2009, and from 17,344 in 2007. Van driver vacancies increased from 7,000 last October up to 10,193 this year. Postal vacancies went from 22,322 in October 2009 to 28,888 this year.
Dr Mick Jackson, chief executive of Skills for Logistics, said “October vacancies obviously reflect a build-up to the Christmas peak. However, the year-on-year increase for October looks like a heartening signal of growth in the economy. Hopefully this will be sustained into the New Year and beyond, rather than a last blip for the economy before a double-dip recession. However, the latest vacancy figures are also early danger signals of a possible return to the large-scale driver shortages of the first half of the decade.”
In order to avoid driver shortages, Dr Jackson suggested that in England, employers can make use of the coalition government’s focus on “Adult Apprenticeships”, under which up to half of the training costs for people aged 19-24 will be subsidised.
He said: “What is more, the same schemes can be used to backfill the experienced warehouse operative with a `Warehouse Apprentice’. This will give us a good example of the logistics industry both helping itself and also improving the skills of our own workforce.”