Truck carriers are continuing to struggle to hire drivers and this is not just an issue in Canada. The International Road Transport Union (IRU), an international supply chain group which includes the Canadian Trucking Alliance and the American Trucking Associations as members, reports driver shortages worldwide. They cite recruitment challenges such as an aging workforce, a lack of safe and secure truck parking and struggles to attract youth and women alike as contributing factors to this growing problem.
Data from Trucking HR Canada, a national, non-profit organization promoting modern HR solutions for the trucking and logistics workforce, identified 20,000 unfilled truck driving jobs in Canada during 2020. They are projecting 23,000 vacancies by 2023. Based on about 300,000 truck driving jobs last year, that puts the Canadian vacancy rate at more than 6%.
The IRU surveyed 77 companies from 23 countries between October 2020 and January 2021, and 38% of the participants said a lack of trained drivers was the main cause for the shortage. However, challenging work conditions made worse by the pandemic and trouble attracting women and young people to the job, were also identified as barriers.
IRU reports only 2% of the world’s truck drivers are women. In Canada, 3.5% of truck drivers are women while in the U.S., it is 7.8%.
Truck drivers under 25 make up 5% in Europe and Russia, 6% in Mexico, and 7% in Turkey. The situation in Canada is much more challenging, where a mere 3.4% of truck drivers are under the age of 25.
Ageing trucker drivers are certainly an issue now, as the average age of the world’s truck drivers has reached 50. In Canada, 31% are 55 or older. This average will only continue to increase each year and will get worse without action to reduce minimum driver age.
The IRU is promoting strategies such as lowering the minimum driving age to 18, and investing in safe and secure truck parking areas to fix the current massive global shortfall. It also adds that working conditions will improve when drivers are treated with more respect.
The IRU’s Secretary General, Umberto de Pretto, says, “the driver shortage is a real threat to the functioning of road transport, supply chains, trade, the economy, and ultimately employment and citizens’ welfare. This is not an issue that can wait. Action needs to be taken now. The solutions are there, but if governments do not act now to ease access to the profession, improve working conditions and upskill the workforce, the driver shortage will continue to disrupt and eventually irreparably damage vital supply chains networks.”
For more information, contact William Sanchez, Manager – Truck Services.