While truck driver shortages have slightly eased up globally, they remain a moderately severe problem. IRU Secretary General Umberto de Pretto believes that Europe’s shortage crisis is accelerating rapidly and could be a significant threat to the continent if nothing is done.
There are around 425,000 truck driver positions in Europe that are currently going unfulfilled. And it’s not a matter of commercial vehicles and heavy equipment becoming too expensive, but it’s a demographic issue.
Most drivers leave by the time they’re 45, and it just so happens that many reach this age in tandem. But, it’s also the tricky work/life balance that younger people struggle to accept when looking to get into the industry.
With that in mind, below are a few ways to improve truck driver satisfaction so that Europe doesn’t plunge into a supply chain crisis.
Don’t micromanage the tech.
GPS and telematics devices can be handy for drivers. The data can inform the driver about their route efficiency and be good information for the employer to see mistakes. However, micromanagement is an issue in all industries and is proven to decrease work satisfaction.
Arguably, many get into truck driving because they want to be left alone. So, ensure that the quality control of the technology only goes so far to help monitor them and not to remove every decision out of their day.
Communication between the employer and driver is essential. Small conversations can help boost morale and respect, which will become very important when a driver wants to listen more to instructions.
Furthermore, drivers can be an excellent source of information; their updates are invaluable. Every work, trucker or otherwise, wants to feel valued. Therefore, provide a frequent platform for them to air any concerns and feedback, but also provide input into business decisions, routes, and other parts of the business.
The work-life balance is essential for any trucker because it’s a struggle. Therefore, benefits shouldn’t be just focused on on-the-job stuff. In other words, money isn’t everything, and a driver’s life and health outside work are precious. So, free gym memberships, healthy snacks, company wellness days, and many other lifestyle incentive schemes will be truly valuable to a truck driver.
This new generation of truck drivers will need to be convinced, after all. And this generation is generally more conscious and educated on physical and mental health. So, even free therapy sessions (i.e. online telehealth vouchers) can be hugely appreciated.
Whilst not strictly a benefit, vehicles should be up-to-date and maintained to ensure the best comfort and safety for the driver. Recurring maintenance issues can be one of the drivers’ greatest frustrations; they should feel as if they can trust the ‘home’ that they operate in for such long periods. Therefore, using newer trucks is a great way to improve work satisfaction.
And, of course, higher salaries to match inflation will also be required to help prevent the shortage from worsening.