The Australian trucking industry is facing a looming crisis of age, as the latest Census data reveals.
Isuzu Australia director and COO Phil Taylor has renewed calls for stakeholders to address employment issues to ensure the future prosperity of the transport sector.
This comes after a thorough analysis of the latest Census employment data which reveals the average age of workers in the sector is 10 years older than the average age for the sector in the last Census.
In 2001 Census the average age of transport and storage workers was 35 to 44 years and for last year’s Census employee average age is 45 -54 years old.
Mr Taylor said,
“We need to ensure that the operational knowledge of the current generation of transport and logistics professionals isn’t lost forever.
“The industry needs to start having the tough conversations about what can be done so a younger crop of professionals can inherit the wisdom of the industry’s current employees.”
The renewed calls from Taylor come after he and Volvo boss Peter Voorhoeve flagged the looming recruitment crisis in the industry in 2016, particularly for drivers.
The latest figures project significant, sustained growth in the national freight task.
NatRoads has predicted the transport activity to increase by 26 per cent from 2016 to 2026. Mr Taylor went on to explain that employment in the sector is not growing significantly compared to the increase in activity.
“Over the 15 years where the freight task grew by 40 per cent, Census data shows employment in the ‘ transport, storage and warehousing’ sector grew by 28 per cent,” Taylor says.
“A range of factors is driving the sustained growth of the freight task.
“It’s imperative the transport and logistics sector has the right people in place to ensure this growth isn’t hindered.”
Mr Taylor urged federal and state government to act with transport industry bodies to address the issue. He highlighted that worker shortages would not only affect the transport and logistics sector but also affect the entire population.
Mr Taylor called for a collaborate effort to find effective solutions. He commended government initiatives like the Youth Jobs PaTH program which was helping create career pathways within the transport industry.
“The $760 million Youth Jobs PaTH program announced in the federal 2016/17 budget has created a circumstance where transport companies can partner with the Department of Employment to establish trial programs within the industry that aim to deliver tangible solutions in response to one of the most significant issues our industry is presently facing.
“The reality is that hiring employees is an expense for companies, and that many small to medium operators in the transport and logistics sector aren’t willing to take it on, especially if they feel any new employee might not be equipped with the skills necessary to hit the ground running.