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Logistics expertise 08.06.2022
9 min.

7 tips for hiring drivers amidst the shortage

A man sits behind the wheel of a truck, smiling and giving thumbs up.

Long lines at petrol stations, empty supermarket shelves, factories temporarily shuttered – the lorry driver shortage in the UK made headlines last year. But Germany also has a driver shortage, with a need for around 45,000 to 60,000 professional drivers. This blog post discusses how companies can find and retain valuable employees in these trying times.

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The situation is worsening

People are buying more goods than ever, and online shopping is booming: all those purchases aren’t going to transport themselves. We need more professional drivers than ever before. But unlike the constantly increasing number of goods, the number of available drivers has been decreasing for years. The IRU predicts that there will be 185,000 fewer road hauliers than needed in 2027.

There are lots of reasons for the decline in the number of lorry drivers. Some factors include

  • A lack of respect for the job
  • Inadequate compensation
  • Short delivery deadlines and too much overtime
  • The need for 300,000 additional lorry parking spaces
  • Roads in poor repair
  • Inadequate digitalisation

All of these and more are making the job less and less attractive to both old hands and new blood.

How to attract drivers

Never before have companies had so much trouble attracting and retaining dependable drivers: there is just so much competition. But the following 7 tips can help companies to find reliable and qualified drivers.

1. Treat drivers with both appreciation and respect

One of the biggest contributors to the driver shortage is the lack of respect shown to drivers by employers. In order to attract and retain drivers, employers must respect their workers and respond to their needs. Here are some ways an employer can show that respect:

  • Appropriate working hours
  • Fair wages, paid on time
  • Making safety a priority during work and rest periods
  • Focusing on driver health
  • Communicating as equals and partners
  • Committing to achieving sustainable transport processes

By addressing these issues and communicating about them openly and honestly, companies can really make a difference for their employees, who in turn will recognise that they are working for a good employer, which will make it easier for the company to hire new drivers.

2. Fix the image problem

Drivers want more than just appreciation from their employers: they also want society to appreciate what they do. The profession currently has a bad image: the lorry driver who drives recklessly and behaves badly at the services is deeply anchored in our collective consciousness.
Despite the fact that the large majority of professional lorry drivers are reliable and do excellent work. It is so important to educate the public about the important role drivers play in society. Both employers and industry associations have a duty to improve the job’s image by ensuring the public knows how essential and valuable the position really is.

3. Fair compensation and a good work-life balance

Working hours and compensation play a very decisive role when it comes to attracting new drivers. Weekend work, overtime, sleeping in service areas or in the truck – part of daily life for many drivers, and a major reason that people are leaving the profession in droves.

One way to counter these problems is to provide fair compensation and ensure drivers are paid on time. Combining good money with appropriate working hours is a sure-fire way to attract reliable employees. And paying fair wages pays off: a study by Middlesex University in London showed that road safety improves when drivers are paid fair wages.

4. Create safe working conditions

Unsurprisingly, professional drivers spend a lot of time on the road. If there aren’t enough parking spots for trucks, if they have to drive hours between service areas, if the roads are damaged and the infrastructure is inadequate, their jobs are a lot more difficult. Ensuring that drivers have a safe place to park their lorries protects both the driver and their cargo. Parking spots can be booked in advance from a variety of providers, such as Truck Parking Europe. If a parking spot is booked in advance, it usually also offers access to excellent infrastructure, such as clean and modern sanitary facilities.

5. Improve digitalisation

We often hear about inadequate infrastructure on the streets and in service areas, but what about inadequate digital infrastructure? It also contributes to the driver shortage. A driver with adequate digital tools is able, as an example, to use their navigation system to avoid traffic jams and delays. Working hours can be precisely documented using a tachograph, making wage calculations simpler and fairer. And it also just makes sense to save important information digitally. In many transport companies, essential information is still recorded on paper or in Excel lists. But filling in this information is both inconvenient and time consuming.

Smart tools, such as TIMOCOM’s Smart Logistics System, can speed up transport processes while simultaneously simplifying them and improving transparency. Every step of the process can be managed centrally within the System. Faxes, Excel sheets or the need to enter data into multiple systems is a thing of the past, significantly decreasing workloads for road hauliers.

6. Provide support for young drivers

Young people find the job particularly unattractive. And yet the industry is in desperate need of new drivers. To attract new talent, it is important to make training easier, improve the profession’s image and increase digitalisation across the entire logistics industry. That’s simply the only way to ensure that young professionals are excited about the job and believe it has a future. 

The industry also needs to support anyone who wants to make a lateral move to become a professional driver. One example: qualified personnel without an EU drivers license should be able to become professional drivers.

7. Offer additional training

Logistics is a fast moving industry, constantly transforming thanks to digitalisation and technical advances. New trends, such as platooning, green logistics, big data and driverless cars are a source of concern for (prospective) professional drivers. What will the job look like in the future? Will there even be a need for professional drivers? These are just some of the questions the industry is asking.

To soothe these fears, employers have to regularly provide employees with updates about the latest industry trends and offer relevant training opportunities. By giving their employees the option of acquiring further qualifications, employers prove that they value their road hauliers, which in turn has a positive effect on staff retention.

Not only that, employees with excellent qualifications are a great selling point for customers. They, too, have noticed that the industry is in flux, and are increasingly deciding to hire companies that are on top of the latest developments.

The (worrisome?) future of the industry

If both society and employers take the needs of road hauliers into account, creating better working conditions, then it is quite likely that the driver shortage can be fixed – not immediately, but eventually. There are technological, economic and social possibilities that offer opportunities for improving the job’s reputation and thus increasing the number of people who want to work as a professional driver. Once this transformation is complete, the job will finally be seen as what it is: a position with real growth potential. Secure, essential employment with interesting and challenging duties.

It may take some time for society and the economy to truly recognise the value of professional drivers. In the mean time, employers can do quite a lot to improve their ability to attract and retain excellent talent. In addition to fair compensation, reasonable working hours and training opportunities, companies really must focus on digitalisation.

Professional navigation systems, tachographs and smart tools such as TIMOCOM’s Smart Logistics System can really help improve road hauliers’ working lives. The Smart Logistics System offers support with

  • Finding suitable transport offers and vehicle space quickly
  • Processing orders entirely digitally, with no paperwork
  • Avoiding loading dock traffic jams thanks to comprehensive time window management
  • Optimising vehicle capacities
  • Reducing administrative tasks: since everything can be done within the System, there is no need for double data entry
  • Reducing errors caused by switching between programs and manual data entry
  • Improving transport processes using real time information for planning and managing transports

 

TIMOCOM allows you to optimise and digitalise the entire transport process while simultaneously improving employee satisfaction. Register now to see for yourself!

Attract new drivers with digitalisation

 

Other interesting articles:

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