How To Combat The Driver Shortage

Ladies and gentlemen, brace yourselves for a wild ride. We’re talking about a global shortage of drivers that’s sending shockwaves through the transport industry, and boy, is it one heck of an issue. But fret not, because there are tricks up the sleeves of employers to not only entice these drivers but keep their engines revving. What, you ask, are the secrets to unlocking drivers’ desires and turbocharging your daily fleet operations?

Now, in the year 2022, the International Road Transport Union (IRU) conducted their annual driver survey, and what they found was nothing short of scandalous. Over 2.6 million trucker gigs were left vacant in 2021, despite the allure of fattened paychecks and a ready pool of talent. According to their juicy report, the root of this predicament lies in the difficulty of enticing young blood into the driver’s seat, coupled with an overabundance of older road warriors eying their well-deserved retirements. But hold onto your hats, folks, because this ain’t just some trucker trouble – it’s a ripple effect that’s caressing supply chains and leaving no corner of the business world untouched. It’s a chain reaction that’s making consumers across the globe sweat in their fancy suits.

Now, let’s get intimate with what makes these drivers tick. Picture this: an internal Volvo survey from 2019, involving 151 interviews with long-haul lovers from 16 different nations who are dedicated to international transport. Their three hot-button desires? Comfort, space in that cozy cab, and the sweet embrace of security. But that’s not all, my friends. The survey also reveals a newfound fascination with health, particularly among the younger drivers, and a craving for eco-friendly drivetrains that’ll make Mother Earth swoon.

But hold onto your gears, because driver preferences don’t just follow a straight line on the highway. They zigzag depending on nationality, country, and the routes these road warriors traverse. And not all drivers have the green to splurge on fancy truck stops, as Delphine tantalizingly reveals.

Now, what gets these truckers’ motors running, you ask?

DRIVER COMFORT: The survey spills the beans, and it’s all about sleeping and resting arrangements, folks. These are considered prime real estate, with over 58% yearning for more room to stretch out and relax, apart from the basics of a comfy driver’s seat.

CAB SPACE: The size of the cab, my friends, is as crucial as the size of a diamond. A whopping 72% of drivers are dreaming of spacious cabs. Every inch counts, and for long-haul lovers, it’s like a caress from the heavens.

SAFETY: The safety dance, baby! It’s not just about the truck; it’s about the driver’s well-being too. In terms of security, the top three cravings include fuel robbery alerts, gas attack alarms, and a tantalizingly complementary cab door interior security lock. As for driver safety, 62% are begging for a little assistance – lane keeping, lane change assistance, emergency braking, you name it. And don’t forget those sultry alarms, protecting against sleep-induced mishaps and warding off aggression and theft. It’s a symphony of desire, my friends.

Operators need to court both seasoned and rookie drivers to tackle this sultry driver shortage.

Fresh drivers are enticed by the low entry requirements, with 36% seduced by the allure of cold, hard cash, followed by training (16%) and the promise of traversing uncharted roads (11%). For the seasoned roadsters, it’s all about the moolah – 42% of them are singing the salary siren song. Autonomy and the freedom of the open road (19%) and a sweet, appreciative employer (16%) follow closely. But here’s the kicker, my friends. We’ve got a peek into what turns these drivers off, and for 49% of newbies, the fear of unemployment is the monkey on their back, even though transport companies are practically begging for their skills. There’s potential here for operators to set the mood early, with a seductive onboarding process that secures a long-term relationship with these potential drivers. And once they’re in the saddle, these rookies often feel a bit shaky, like a teenager on prom night. The pressure to deliver, combined with the fear of maneuvering a truck in chaotic traffic and the nightmare of accidents, has them thinking about an early breakup due to stress.

As for the seasoned pros, employers and working conditions hold the reins in their world. An employer treating them poorly can dim the allure of the profession. Working conditions that include high pressure, stress, and the specter of accidents – well, those are all reasons to hit the highway in search of greener pastures.

1Truck America, September 18th 2023

Source: Volvo Trucks