As the news is centred around the fuel crisis and lack of HGV drivers, you probably weren’t aware that there’s also a forklift driver shortage – which is proving just as much of an issue for many UK supply chain providers.
The CEO of the United Kingdom Warehouse Association (UKWA) has said the focus on Britain’s HGV driver shortage has overshadowed the scarcity of qualified forklift drivers in the warehousing sector.
Impact of the forklift driver shortage
Speaking to BBC News, CEO Clare Bottle said that before Brexit, the percentage of EU forklift drivers making up the total workforce was twice as much as for HGV drivers:
“We have fewer workers than we used to have and some of this is down to Brexit. 15% of HGV drivers were EU nationals, but the proportion of forklift truck drivers is 34%. If anything, warehousing has been hit harder than driving by the exodus of people from our workforce.”
Forklift driver shortages mean warehouses cannot operate efficiently; transport operations are becoming more fragile and unreliable, which in turn reduces warehouse productivity and profitability.
It therefore comes as no surprise that there has been a dramatic rise in the demand for automated materials handling equipment in a bid to meet strict deadlines.
Are forklift drivers in demand?
Forklift drivers are more in demand than ever due to the UK-wide shortage of skilled logistics staff. A recent study by Logistics UK showed that in 2019, 79,000 EU nationals left the UK logistics industry (with further forklift truck drivers leaving the industry due to the Covid pandemic), accounting for in excess of 7,000 UK unfilled forklift wide vacancies in the sector.
Forklift operators have been working in crisis mode for nearly two years with insufficient resources, and the logistics industry wants to raise awareness of job opportunities with the help of the government. Warehouses need a regular group of drivers around the clock to cope with the constant flow of deliveries and dispatches, and this can only happen by addressing labour shortages and skills gaps.
Is forklift driving a good job?
Becoming a forklift driver offers both job security and a healthy salary. Additionally, the recent forklift driver shortages has meant that there has been a rise in wages throughout the logistics industry, so it’s worth making the move now if you’ve been thinking about starting a new career.
If you would like more advice on the forklift driver shortage, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We have guides such as what to consider when hiring forklift operators and useful tips to become a better forklift operator, and if you’re in need of a forklift, take a look at our range here.