Australia Not Alone in Driver Shortage Concerns

Traton Group, the parent company of MAN and Scania has highlighted the shortage of professional drivers in Europe, expressing its concern over the growing crisis. The situation is similar in Australia and North America.

MAN Truck and Bus chairman Holder Mandel, while speaking at an industry event said Germany was facing a crisis with a shortage of about 45,000 drivers with fears that this number may reach 100,000 to 200,000 soon, as about half of the drivers that retire are replaced by new entrants to the industry.

In a post on the issues impeding the industry in recruitment of new drivers were noted and they include,

  • lack of respect towards drivers

  • appalling conditions on the roads, in parking lots, and in sanitary facilities

  • increasing qualification requirements, in part due to increased digitisation of the role

  • remuneration that is not always appealing, “due often enough to companies on the road at dumping prices, the difficulties in competition within Europe”.


One German driver called the treatment of drivers and poor on and off-road conditions as “almost degrading”.

In the post logistics service provider Hubertus Kobernuß spoke of the demands placed on drivers,

“The drivers of today are ideally supposed to be chemists, legal experts, engineers and a few things more.”


The article also addressed the need for more training of drivers, as the role of truck driving becomes more digitised.

The problems facing Australia are almost the same – driver shortages and industry perception the two biggest obstacles.

NatRoad CEO Warren Clark said at the moment the average age of drivers in Australia is around 50 and less than 15 per cent are under the age of 30. This is an obstacle to accomplishing the road freight task which is set to double by 2030.

“With the average age of current drivers now 53, and the difficulties with getting insurance for those under the age of 25, the problem is compounding. It is becoming increasingly hard to recruit skilled drivers,” Clark says.


The road freight industry is not just sitting back but tackling the problem head-on, the article detailed a number of initiatives underway in Australia in 2018 including the Women Driving Transport Careers initiative, the $4million pledged by Victorian premier Daniel Andrews to train 800 new heavy vehicle drivers if re-elected and the ‘Future Ready’ program which was launched at the 2018 NatRoad Annual Conference.

One of the key sentiments shared with counterparts abroad is that the road freight industry is the backbone of the economy and a solution needs to be reached. Clark went on to state,

“Day in, day out, transport business across the country provide the link between manufacturers, producers and retailers to keep Australia moving,” Clark says. “We as an industry need to ask the hard questions and find the answers.”