Shortage of Courier Drivers

Picture of Martin Smith

Martin Smith

Pegasus Couriers MD

The industry faces a significant challenge, from the shortage of skilled courier drivers to retention and recruitment issues. Pegasus Couriers Discusses

The industry faces a significant challenge, from the shortage of skilled courier drivers to retention and recruitment issues.
As consumers become more accustomed to doorstep deliveries, businesses are under immense pressure to meet expectations. 

Here Pegasus Director Martin Smith discusses challenges facing delivery driver recruitment and retention.

Courier Service Prioritise Recruitment

In today’s fast-paced world, online shopping has become the norm and demand for quick and efficient delivery is at an all-time high.¬†

The UK-wide delivery driver shortage has exacerbated the situation, resulting in soaring recruitment and retention costs.

According to the latest Samsara report, this has led to 9 in 10 UK fleet owners prioritising driver retention and recruitment to mitigate losses. 

The research shows that over 40% of fleet businesses surveyed faced severe delivery driver shortages. The research from Samsara was carried out among 150 UK fleet managers and 1,000 commercial drivers.

Why Is There a Shortage of Delivery Drivers?

Several factors have contributed to this shortage, including changes in consumer behaviour, rising demand for online shopping, competitiveness between companies and the impact of Brexit on the labour market.
Another significant impact was the government’s HGV program intended to attract new drivers to the sector. In reality, it only saw a mass exodus of experienced drivers from the multi-drop courier sector. To counter this, various companies had to restrategise and spend more time and money focusing on better recruitment and retention strategies.
Small businesses, in particular, are grappling with rising costs, exploring alternative delivery options while still prioritising customer service.

Delivery Driver Shortage Figures

The shortage was also spurred on by the growth of online shopping and e-commerce during the pandemic. 

The report states that 45% of drivers may quit their job due to increased pressure, while just one in 10 say the UK government respects their role.

However, to try to lessen the blow, the report says all fleet managers they spoke with believe that making driving an in-demand profession is of high importance for 2023. 

Interestingly, 94% are increasing their technology investment to improve the driver experience and safety. So much so that eight in 10 delivery drivers agree that technology positively impacts the job. This includes dashcams, GPS routing, incident detection, mobile-based tools, etc.

While some businesses have explored alternative delivery options, small businesses struggle to cope with the rising costs.

How to Attract More Drivers‚Äč

The government implemented the Flat Rate Scheme years back as part of an initiative to attract self-employed persons into the workforce. This is ideal for self-employed delivery drivers who want to enter the courier industry. At Pegasus Couriers, we help our self-employed drivers with this, often resulting in extra money from the government. 

The initiative aimed at helping businesses effectively offer work to individuals who wanted to be their own boss. 

While some prefer employment, others have jumped at the self-employment initiative as it is a way to make more money and get several perks.

Frequently Asked Questions

UK courier companies employ various recruitment strategies to attract new delivery drivers. These include driver incentive plans, various benefits such as taking the van home at night and driver training aimed at promotion.

To become a courier delivery driver in the UK, individuals are generally required to have a valid driver's license, good driving skills, and knowledge of road regulations. Some courier companies - such as Pegasus Couriers - also require at least two years of driving experience with no more than 6 points on your UK license.

The rise of e-commerce and online shopping has significantly impacted the UK's demand for courier delivery drivers. This has led to increased traffic, a shift in labour patterns, changes in delivery driver payments, technological advancements, environmental concerns, impact on local businesses, and heightened expectations regarding delivery speed.

Industry solutions for driver retention include alternative delivery methods - such as drones or driverless vehicles - and partnerships with gig economy platforms. Additionally, improving driver pay rates and implementing automation in the delivery process are being explored as long-term strategies.

Recruitment and Retention Factors

Recruitment and retention pose significant challenges for the courier industry. Amidst the scarcity of delivery drivers, the courier industry faces many other challenges, such as managing last-mile logistics, meeting evolving expectations, and ensuring environmental sustainability, to name a few. High driver turnover rates and intense competition within the industry further complicate recruitment efforts. The industry needs to find innovative solutions to overcome these obstacles. These are the type of initiatives we need to see from the state.

Why Customer Service is Crucial

Maintaining good customer service has become crucial in retaining customers and drivers alike. 

Effective customer service is essential for fostering positive relationships. Providing excellent customer service enhances customer satisfaction and improves driver morale. In the courier industry, delayed parcels and customer complaints can significantly impact driver morale, leading to decreased job satisfaction and potential turnover.

Therefore, addressing customer concerns promptly and maintaining positive client relationships is essential. By prioritising customer service, businesses can create a supportive and efficient environment for drivers, increasing job satisfaction and retention. Additionally, businesses can build customer trust by ensuring a seamless customer service experience, resulting in repeat business and positive word-of-mouth.

 

Collaborative Solutions for the Future

The long-term viability and future expansion of the industry hinge upon resolving these challenges and recognising the significance attributed to the courier profession. Technological advancements, such as implementing recruitment Apps to make the candidate journey as easy as possible, and online chat systems are all critical for ensuring a smooth operation.  At Pegasus Couriers, we use the latest hi-tech Customer Relationship Management systems to stay on top of tracking our candidates. While not perfect, it lessens the potential issues and even assists with retention. 

We have designed an entire internal network for our delivery drivers to keep up to date with policies and other company matters. This, combined with our various Delivery Driver Apps, helps us to ensure queries and issues are speedily addressed.

In previous articles, I have discussed my views on the future demand for delivery drivers. 

Become a Delivery Driver? Contact Us Today

We are always looking for new drivers to join our team. At Pegasus Couriers, we provide training, support, and opportunities for growth. We are a family-owned business with a long history of success. Contact us today to learn more about our driver opportunities.

 

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