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Driver shortage in logistics

Professional truck driver — a profession undergoing change

The transport industry has been growing steadily over recent years. While this sounds positive, it presents logistics companies with new challenges. The industry is facing a chronic shortage of professional truck drivers. In a bid to counter this trend, the Nagel-Group has established the Academy for Truck Drivers.

Many companies are finding it difficult to recruit professional truck drivers. 1.5 million professional truck drivers work in Germany. About a million of these drivers are over 45 years old. According to a labour market report by DEKRA, around 50,000 truck drivers retire on average every year. Logistics companies have to recruit new truck drivers to compensate the loss of qualified staff. In comparison, the number of people taking up this profession is quite low. Logistics companies trained 10,000 entry-level truck drivers on average in the last years. According to DEKRA, 150,000 professional truck drivers will be needed in Germany in the next ten years.

Many professional truck drivers change employers

There is another problem which the industry is facing in addition to truck drivers leaving their profession due to age-related reasons and low level of training of new drivers. Many professional truck drivers change employers within a short period of time. This fluctuation makes it difficult for companies to have stable staffing levels.

One of the reasons which is keeping the new recruits at bay is the poor image of professional truck drivers. However, this profession offers very diverse and responsible tasks. Professional truck drivers make a significant contribution to ensuring distribution for businesses. They have to display a strong sense of responsibility both for the vehicles and the cargo. Additionally, they have to handle complex vehicle technology, act as the situation demands, and be communicative while dealing with customers and their colleagues.

Digitisation is changing the profession

Digitisation has changed the work processes of professional truck drivers over the last years. This change offers advantages and disadvantages. Digital networking simplifies and streamlines a variety of administrative tasks which the professional truck drivers have had to perform additionally in recent years. For example, a digital driver card documents the route, the driving hours, and waiting times. This means less paperwork for the truck driver. However, professional truck drivers have to also strictly comply with breaks and rest periods. Precise route planning can constitute an additional burden for specialist staff due to the increasing traffic volume.

For the Nagel-Group, professional truck drivers represent an important link to the customer and are vitally important to the company. The Nagel-Group offers an excellent apprenticeship programme for young drivers to attract them to the profession. The company which specialises in food logistics only needs three years to train its young drivers to become professional truck drivers. Particular emphasis is placed on compliance with high quality standards.

In dialogue with truck drivers

The Nagel-Group is currently developing flexible shift models and individual working hours. The truck drivers are given the opportunity to spend nights at home as often as possible. At the same time, the Nagel-Group is working to further structure and simplify the working requirements of the truck drivers.

The Academy for Truck Drivers at the Nagel-Group is responsible for all processes that deal with recruitment, on-going training, and support for the truck drivers. "We are in close contact with our truck drivers and we know what motivates them. We are actively working with them to further improve the situation," says Raik Spengler, Manager at the Nagel-Group's Academy for Truck Drivers.

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