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Critical shortage of commercial drivers and only 13 percent of Brits would consider it

Debi Bell
drivers

Britain is a nation of confident drivers who enjoy being out on the roads – but most of them would not consider driving for a living, according to new survey data from Lanes Group Careers. Contributor Debi Bell, head of HR services – Lanes Group.

Although nearly two-thirds of Britons mostly feel happy behind the wheel and do not generally hold strongly negative views of professional driving, the survey showed that only 13 percent of them have ever considered driving professionally themselves. It also highlighted a number of key concerns about working conditions for drivers that deter them from a career in this sector.

Lanes Group employs 2,200 people across the UK, many of whom are professional drivers across multiple disciplines. The company conducted this online survey of 795 working-age people to assess the British public’s attitudes towards professional driving, in order to identify potential barriers that might be stopping people from pursuing this type of career.

It was shown that 62 percent of people had a positive attitude towards getting behind the wheel, with 43 percent seeing driving as “somewhat enjoyable” and 19 percent describing it as “very enjoyable”, compared to only 18 percent who said they do not enjoy driving. Similarly, the overwhelming majority of Britons appear to be confident in their skills on the road, with 98 percent rating their driving ability as at least average, and 76 percent describing their driving as either “good” or “excellent”.

However, this does not seem to be translating into an interest in applying these skills professionally, with 87 percent of those polled saying they have never considered driving for a living. When asked to explain why, 55 percent said they were unwilling to take a job that involved sitting in traffic all day, while 32 percent saw the role as lonely and isolating, and 23 percent were concerned about the prospect of being away from home for long periods of time.

Similarly, 19 percent worried about the potential negative impact on their home or family lives, while 18 percent believed the hours would be too long, and 17 percent were put off by the fact that many drivers have to work as self-employed professionals.

Debi Bell, head of HR services at Lanes Group, said: “This survey indicates that the majority of working-age people in the UK have everything they need to succeed in professional driving roles in terms of skills and confidence, but too many are being put off by negative perceptions about the type of work this would involve.

“At a time when the UK is experiencing a nationwide shortage of professional drivers spanning multiple sectors, this means that businesses of all sizes are missing out on an untold number of potentially capable candidates.

“Professional driving offers all sorts of opportunities for rewarding work, regardless of your prior career background; what’s more, there are also many roles available that offer long-term security and stability, and that do not depend on working the long hours that many associated with this type of work. Employers should be looking at ways to address these preconceptions if they want to broaden their pool of driving talent.”

Only six percent of those surveyed cited bad impressions of the profession as a factor putting them off, while the views expressed about people who currently drive for a living were shown to be generally neutral, or moderately positive.

When asked about their views on professional drivers, the only group for whom the negative sentiments outweighed the positive was van drivers, with 45 percent seeing them unfavourably, compared to only 18 percent who viewed them favourably. By contrast, lorry drivers saw a much more even balance between positive (35 percent) and negative (31 percent) views, with opinions on taxi drivers skewed favourably (38 percent positive vs 25 percent negative). Meanwhile, an overall majority of respondents (57 percent) had a favourable impression of bus and coach drivers.


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