The transportation industry is currently facing a severe lack of truck drivers. If action is not taken, this problem is going to get worse in the future. The current professionals are mostly about to retire, and companies are having real trouble finding replacements for them.
Today we are going to take a look into ways to face this shortage:
The challenge of finding new truckers
Nowadays, we have around 5 million truck drivers circulating in Europe, when we should have at least 6. Companies with vehicles are having severe difficulties finding new drivers for them, and the delays on the introduction of autonomous vehicles is not helping.
There are three key points that would help to bring new profiles into the industry:
First solution to the lack of truck drivers: Repairing the image of the industry of road transportation
Back in the 70s, trucker movies were a genre of their own. Nowadays, it is really hard to see a truck driver represented on the starring role of a blockbuster. This doesn’t mean that Hollywood is to blame for the lack of drivers, but it is a symptom of its loss of prestige as a career.
Truckers have an honest and essential job for society, and people don’t seem to consider this. The current representation of truck drivers in media is mostly figurative, and rarely positive. If we want to attract new drivers, a change in how they are represented could be a good jumpstart.
Second solution to the lack of truck drivers: Increasing the salary of truckers
Being a trucker is tough. Long hours on the road combine with difficulties to reconcile your work with your personal life. Sleeping far from your family and eating at services stations is quite a sacrifice. It just makes sense to expect good compensation for it. But is this effort getting paid?
Truth be told, professional drivers feel they aren’t paid enough. Even with the current lack of truckers, companies are not compensating their efforts, even paying them minimum salary in some countries. Having a highly demanding job that is also crucial for society at large, it is expected and just that they get a rise. No one is going to accept such a rough life if they can get a similar pay at a burger place.
Obviously, companies are worried about this change. I have no doubt that most people on this industry agree with the concept, but its actual execution is quite hard economically. After all, companies are already facing a lot of troubles themselves. Even so, it is important to go through with it and persevere. If we don’t, the lack of professionals is going to end up being much more expensive than the increase of salaries in the long run.
Third solution to the lack of truck drivers: Better working conditions
Even with a high salary, a trucker still lives on his truck. Even though the official working hours are 56 per week, the reality is that truck drivers don’t “go back home” when they finish their daily hours. The driver spends most of this “free time” resting for the next stage of his journey.
Still in the middle of the road, the trucker usually ends his workday on a service station. Not all service stations are equal, and it is not uncommon for the professional to end up sleeping through the night on his cabin, which is not designed for this purpose.
When thinking about improvements for truck drivers, it is essential to think of more than just paying better. It is important to consider new working models that help their travels be more comfortable, and let them enjoy their private lives. Specially for companies with lots of drivers on their payroll, it would be best to start actually asking them. Without a doubt, the drivers have a much better idea of what would make their job better, and are eager to be heard.
I’m sure these ideas are not precisely innovative. As was mentioned before, surely all road transportation companies understand that the lack of truck drivers has everything to do with their work conditions. The problem, as always, is the cost.
Maybe future investment by the governments, and the introduction of autonomous vehicles, will help alleviate this difficulty. Until then, it’s on the companies to solve the issue. Accepting this highers cost is rough, we know. Oil keeps on getting expensive, and competition is increasing. But at the end of the day, how is your company going to operate if you have nobody to work?