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Shortages of skilled drivers can hurt the economy

Date

05 Nov 2010

Sections

Transport
Euro & Finance

Governments and road transport businesses must deal with the serious threat of medium and long term skilled driver shortages or suffer the economic consequences.

Geneva – The IRU General Assembly today adopted a Resolution on driver shortages and strategies for improving their recruitment and retention to counter the resurgent threat of a shortfall in skilled drivers.

IRU President, Janusz Lacny, said, ‘’Driver shortages have only been temporarily eased by the economic crisis and will return with the sustained economic recovery, for which we are all hoping. In fact, economic recovery  will depend on governments’ and industry’s ability to take concerted action to ensure that when transport demand returns, our sector possesses the skilled drivers necessary to service that demand.”

The vulnerability of commercial road transport to driver shortages is due to systemic problems, such as a shrinking pool of available skilled labour, increasingly complex technical and regulatory requirements, ill-deserved image problems and a looming demographic imbalance stemming from a large section of the driver population approaching retirement age without being replaced by younger workers.

To address these threats, the IRU Resolution calls upon governments to recognise road transport as a strategic area of economic activity that is prone to skills shortages, and consequently take every possible measure to support employment in the sector. Such measures range from promoting the sector’s image and its varied job opportunities to minimising the administrative and financial burden of legislation such as those caused by the EU Driver Training Directive.

Governments must also give more concrete support to those acquiring skills to work in the sector and to Accredited Training Institutes such as IRU Academy’s, notably by recognising diplomas and certificates issued by such entities, which contribute to the establishment of an international elite of drivers performing at the top of their profession. Governmental assistance is needed to retain drivers through improving their working conditions, such as identifying the location of existing secure parking facilities and bus and coach terminals, building new ones to match demand and improving a fair and consistent enforcement of road transport legislation. Governments should also support the entry in the profession of unemployed nationals.

At the same time, the IRU Resolution calls on transport associations and companies to continue, amongst other things their image building and recruitment activities,  diversify their recruitment focus, plan and time recruitment and training programmes carefully. “We together with governments need to lay the foundations for a truly sustainable workforce that can continue to meet society’s needs for individual mobility services and freight distribution long into the future. If we don’t, both our sector and the wider economy will bear the consequences,’’ Mr Lacny concluded.

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Read the IRU Resolution

Press contact: Juliette Ebélé, +41 22 918 27 07, press@iru.org

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