The Transport and Logistics sector in Australia has an estimated annual revenue of $101.51 billion, adding $39.91 billion to the Australian economy in 2019-20. The sector employs more than half a million people across its major sub-sectors: Road Transport, Logistics and Warehousing.
A shortage of qualified drivers is one of the primary issues faced by trucking companies in Australia. But why is that so? The average age of the currently working professionals is climbing. We are also seeing projected employment lowering within the Truck Driver segment. The signs are concerning for transport companies as less people are drawn to the industry.
So what is keeping new drivers away?
There are multiple reasons for the lack of drivers in the industry. Some of prime reasons include:
- A good share of the workforce retiring in the coming years
- An image of work being stressful in the industry
- Long hours are spent away from home
- Heavy compliance and certification requirements
- A high number of apprentices not completing their training
The last point is quite worrisome as shown in the chart below. A remarkable share of apprentices do not complete their traineeship and drop out. The influx of young drivers is thus becoming hard. A projection of a gradual increase in demand for truck drivers till 2025 only compounds the problem that the industry is set to face.
Our research shows that regional trucking companies have been hit the hardest by driver shortages, with some companies struggling to fill all driver seats. This means idle trucks – resulting in a lack of revenue and productivity.
There is also a lack of drivers who enter trucking as a full time profession. The ‘weekend trucker’ makes up a chunk of the workforce that look to trucking as a means to pocket some extra money. Wage theft and underpaid wages also are contributing factors to lowering interest in the profession – as per excerpts from a Transport Workers Unions Survey.
Pandemic becoming a party spoiler
The ongoing pandemic has played its role in the transport and logistics industry as well. State-based COVID restrictions are in full force. What that means is the truck drivers need to be get tested often – much to their annoyance. Businesses have been hit by the recent spurt of the Omicron variant and it is not deemed to go away anytime soon. As per industry insiders, there is also a lack of testing kits for transport workers.
The way ahead – young blood and service optimisation
A holistic apprenticeship program can improve the experience for new drivers. By pairing a veteran driver with a fresh face you can pass on vast experience while teaching young blood. The newer generation are also more tech savvy, being open to software and tools designed to make their daily work easier.
Moving on from legacy systems and going online, the trucking industry needs a digital-first approach to make life smoother for an already stressed workforce and to incentivise younger works to join their team. Blink can help you with modernising your transport business and growing your team. Sign up for a free consultation at https://meetings.hubspot.com/ryan362/free-consultation. To learn more about our Carrier solution visit this link: https://gotoblink.com/carrier/