Is cutting pay the way to attract new delivery drivers?

If you are a regular reader of our blogs, you will know that on occasions we focus on reports and statistics that reference the increase in demand for courier and delivery drivers. This is largely driven by an increase in demand from the consumer for things such as shopping, goods or food for example. An increase in demand for couriers is very well, but this is only half of the story. Recruiting and keeping these drivers is also key, otherwise no one would be able to deliver any of these goods. In our latest blog we’ll take a closer look at a recent news article which seems to be at odds with this.

It has recently been reported that a well-known supermarket has decided to cut the rate of pay for its delivery drivers by 12%, this is despite the cost of living situation we are currently in, despite a shortage in delivery drivers for that company, and for the industry overall. It does seem a rather strange thing to do. Common sense would say that this would only antagonise current workers and force them to look elsewhere, whilst lowering the chances of recruiting anyone new. The net result of this could be even less workers overall which is not a situation you want to be in if you are already short staffed.

The issue focuses around a premium which was added to drivers pay. Under the scheme and for a period that was advertised as up to end of the year, drivers working for this company would receive an extra £1.50 per hour on top of their normal hourly pay, to help attract new employees. It is important to point out that this is not a country wide policy as was only targeted for certain parts, where staff shortages were at a dangerously low level. The premium started in July but is now being withdrawn in October, a couple of months before its planned end date according to the Guardian newspaper. The newspaper also claims that according to a spokesperson for the company, the premium did not have the desired effect and explains this is the decision why it is being withdrawn early.

What are the more general implications of this for the courier industry and what does it show?

Courier and delivery drivers are not paid a fantastic rate. This is something that is widely understood about the industry. There are reports of some couriers earning hundreds and sometimes thousands of pounds a day. Firstly, don’t always believe all what you read!, and secondly, those that do earn a bit more have to work exceptionally long hours in high pressured environments. This is not something that the equivalent person would have to do in another industry who was being paid the same.

The fury at withdrawing this premium is obvious and will definitely impact the workers very much at a time when things are tight. As a more general point however, temporary uplifts in wages are never going to cut it as a long term solution to recruiting workers in an industry that is crying out for more staff. The way that couriers and delivery drivers are paid is something that needs to be addressed and looked at from a whole industry perspective – it is far bigger than any one company, person or set of employers or employees.

If not addressed, ultimately it will be the customer that suffers, and it goes back to the central and opening point at the start of this post. An increase in demand for couriers services is all good, but who is actually going to deliver the goods?

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