ManpowerGroup sees surge in driver roles but warns employers may struggle to fill vacancies

Employment specialist ManpowerGroup has predicted a sharp rise in recruitment within the transport sector during the final quarter of 2014.

In its latest employment outlook survey, the firm said job prospects in the sector were at their highest level for 18 months, with a net employment outlook (calculated by subtracting employers who plan to reduce staffing levels from those who plan to hire staff) of +9%. This is a six point increase on Q3 and three points ahead of the national average across all sectors.

Simon Edwards, ManpowerGroup sector director, logistics, said the spike in recruitment in the transport sector was due in part to a backlog of vacancies created by the Driver CPC, which came into force last week.

“From building distribution to e-commerce, retail, and fast-moving consumer goods and drinks logistics, the sector is in urgent need of new recruits,” he said. “There’s been a particular shortage of drivers over the summer period as an average of 4,500 drivers a day have been off road whilst completing their Driver CPC. This has created a backlog of roles to fill and left many companies crying out for these skills.

“In addition, there are many hotspot regions such as the South East, South West and East Midlands, where employers are seeing acute talent shortages, particularly for Class 1 and Class 2 drivers,” he added. “In some hotspots, even the market for 7.5 tonnes is tight.”

Edwards also backed a recent suggestion by the Freight Transport Association that this Christmas could be particularly difficult in terms of skills shortages.

“There is potential for many genuine hotspots, especially if it’s a bumper Christmas for retailers,” he said. “The last minute availability of driver skillsets has certainly diminished, as there is now a choice of work, and where drivers are not locked in with fair rewards this is likely to create gaps in supply.”

The Road Haulage Association has recently renewed its call for more to be done to help fund new drivers taking their HGV driving tests in a bid to gain a licence.