Hello everyone and welcome to our blog – nice of you to drop by (again)! Before I hit the international road again with the #ContiEuropeanRoadshow in March, I’m currently in my home country of Germany and enjoying some (work) life. The perfect time to deal with the latest topics in the industry. Hardly anyone can avoid the topic of the lack of skilled workers these days – whether it’s nurses, tradespeople or even truck drivers. But what exactly is the situation in the transport and logistics sector? Let’s take a look at the reasons, effects and necessary actions surrounding the driver shortage – as I experience them as a truck driver.
From the next generation of drivers to the driver shortage
When I started my career as a truck driver years ago, the world of logistics was a different one. The German Bundeswehr provided strong support for the industry, for example by covering the costs of truck driving licenses. At that time, the next generation of drivers was assured. Because enough people found their way to becoming professional drivers through the federal government or by training freight forwarders. However, this changed over the years – partly due to the end of compulsory military service in Germany – and the number of trainees fell noticeably. Today, the Bundeswehr only provides support in this area under specific conditions. This means that we now have to step up our own efforts to recruit the next generation, but there are neither enough training companies nor enough applicants.
Driver shortage is a Europe-wide problem
The driver shortage affects not only Germany, but the whole of Europe. A kind of domino effect sets in when we recruit drivers from abroad. If we use drivers from Poland, for example, there is a shortage of drivers there, who in turn have to be organized from other countries. The reaction chain makes it clear: the demand for drivers is constantly increasing, while the available personnel is shrinking. The entire industry is desperately looking for qualified drivers to cope with the increasing tasks.
Effects of the driver shortage
The consequences of the driver shortage are serious. Companies are forced to buy tours and vehicles from others in order to be able to transport their freight at all. This is a real challenge, especially in sectors such as food logistics. Not only does it cost money, but it also jeopardizes the punctual delivery of goods to stores. Many drivers are retiring and there are not enough new drivers to solve the problem in the foreseeable future.
Driver shortage and competition
Not all companies provide professional training and there is real competition for the few drivers who have successfully completed their qualifications. Companies are trying to poach skilled workers from each other, leading to a problematic shortage. Nowadays, companies are desperately looking for drivers via the Internet or with car stickers. The days when companies could choose the best applicants are over. It is now a challenge to find suitable applicants at all.
Being a truck driver is more than just driving a truck
Being a professional driver means more than just driving a truck. It requires a high degree of responsibility, especially when it comes to transporting hazardous goods and complying with the necessary safety measures. The logistics industry doesn’t just need drivers. It needs qualified and responsible young people who are ready to take on the challenges. I chose this job because it gives me the opportunity to see and experience a lot. But I am also aware of the responsibility that comes with it.
Heading off: My lady and I love life on the road. Photo: Continental.
Together against the driver shortage
The current developments with regard to the driver shortage are worrying and the entire industry must come together to find solutions. It’s not just about attracting more drivers, but also about retaining those who are already in the industry. Therefore, it is time to invest in training, create attractive working conditions and put the profession of professional driver back in a positive light. In order to do this, we also need to take a (self-)critical look at prevailing prejudices and clichés.
Because one thing is clear: we need more good drivers to ensure the mobility of our society. I look forward to seeing how this situation evolves…
Until then – see you on the road,
What’s your situation? To what extent are you affected by the driver shortage? What measures do you think are necessary here? Please let me know in the comments.