Responding to the HGV driver shortage, David Sinclair. Director of specialist think tank, the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC), argues:

“The HGV driver shortage has become yet another predictable and predicted crisis.

The average age of HGV drivers in the UK is 53. With just 1 in 50 lorry drivers aged under 25, and many drivers soon to retire, Brexit and COVID have only acted as accelerators of a long-overdue problem. The reality is that there is an ill health crisis in the sector with too little work done to address the causes of physical and mental health challenges associated with a sedentary and sometimes lonely job.

While Brexit and COVID have come together to create the perfect storm, they’re hiding a bigger problem – that the sector, alongside many other critical parts of our economy,  have long failed to respond and adapt to an ageing workforce.

There are currently over 9 million workers in the UK today aged over 50. And while the employment rate of older workers has increased significantly over the past decade, far too many of us drop out of work as we hit our mid-50s.

Looking forward, the health and social work, education and public administration sectors are most at risk of skills shortages due to demographic change. These sectors are highly reliant on older workers with around a third or more of their workforces over 50. And they are also sectors which struggle more than others to remain attractive places to work for older workers.

The manufacturing, construction and transport and storage sectors all have at least a third of workers aged over 50 and typically see at least a 50% fall in the number of people employed between the ages of 45-49 and 60-64.

As people live and work for longer, employers are going to have to be innovative and think about how to foster health and wellbeing, flexibility, skills and crate a workplace that works for the future of an ageing workforce.”

ILC is currently running an international innovation competition, supported by the Innovation Resource Center for Human Resources, to identify and award the most promising solutions adapting the future of work for an ageing workforce. Applications are open until 31 October. To apply or to find out more, visit Work for tomorrow: Innovating for an ageing workforce – ILCUK

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