Thursday 26 August 2021 6:00 am

Lorry drivers’ wage growth surges more than seven times UK average as firms hike pay amid worker shortages

Wages for lorry drivers are soaring as UK logistics businesses scramble to scale staffing levels to clear a swelling backlog of delivery orders, according to fresh figures published today.

Research from job site Indeed shows salaries for driving jobs have surged more than seven times faster than the average wage growth recorded for all jobs in the UK. 

The former is up 5.7 per cent between February and July of this year, while the later increased just 0.8 per cent over the same period.

The sharp increase has been primarily driven by logistics businesses reacting to a scarcity of road haulage workers by hiking wages in a bid to attract candidates. 

High levels of EU workers – who have historically represented a large proportion of the road haulage workforce – leaving the UK since the onset of the pandemic has reduced the pool lorry drivers. 

Changes to the UK immigration system engineered by Brexit has made it harder for EU lorry drivers to find work in Britain, which has further limited the supply of highly skilled HGV professionals.

Road haulage chiefs estimate there is a shortage of around 100,000 HGV drivers currently in the UK.

A lack of HGV drivers has left logistics companies struggling to deliver goods to customers, resulting in retailers cancelling usual services due to stock shortages. McDonald’s has stopped serving milkshakes in England, Scotland and Wales, while Greggs announced yesterday its chicken bites are in short supply.

Pawel Adrjan, head of EMEA research at Indeed, said: “Hiring bottlenecks are driving up wages in some sectors of the economy as employers use pay as an incentive to attract candidates and beat their competition to the best people.”

“Historically, low interest in jobs has always translated into increased salaries, but what is unusual about the 2021 recovery is that demand for workers increased suddenly, coinciding with the re-opening of the economy – and employers appear to have responded swiftly.”

Wages for construction workers rose the fastest between February and July of this year, up 6.7 per cent, according to Indeed’s research. Manufacturing salaries were up 4.8 per cent over the same period.

Job postings soared 83 per cent between the announcement of England’s so-called “Freedom Day” to July, highlighting the scale of demand for workers.