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There are many reasons for the lack of staff in the transport industry. This deficit is growing year by year and carriers are constantly looking for ways to attract drivers. Will bonuses for employee referrals and stealing employees from competitors become a standard in Germany?

In Poland, there is a shortage of about 100,000 truck drivers. In Germany, the staffing gaps in the transport sector are around half as large, but they are growing significantly each year. The average age of professional drivers in this country is high, and according to the German transport union DSLV, ⅔ of truckers will retire in the next 15 years.

No wonder that employers have to resort to unusual methods for recruiting employees. German carriers were already offering their drivers accommodation and cars for personal use. Many companies also decide to pay bonuses to their employees for recommending a candidate for a driver. The bonus to the salary is intended to encourage drivers to recruit truckers while on the road. In other words, to steal employees from competitors.

The German daily Hessenschau cites the example of a company from Mörfelden-Walldorf in Hessen. The number of trucks at Spedition Sobek is decreasing. There are still 14 more vehicles on the company’s yard. Since November last year, the company has sold two.

“We have orders but we lack drivers,” said Heinz-Peter Sobek, the owner of the company, to the newspaper. The carrier is looking for five drivers in Mörfelden and six more in the branches in Stuttgart and Mannheim. The trucks will be stationary until he finds them.

“Vehicle downtime lasting 20 working days costs us about €3,000,” says Sobek.

The problem concerns not only his company but many carriers in Hessen and throughout the country. According to the statistics of the BAG (Federal Office for Goods Transport), about 30,000 drivers retire every year while only 15,000 new drivers enter the market. The staffing gaps in the industry are therefore increasing by 15,000 every year.

Bonuses for “headhunters”

Sobek admits in an interview for Hessenschau that his drivers also receive a bonus for recruiting an employee amounting to €500.  

We are even wondering if we shouldn’t pay €1,000,” the businessman told the newspaper. The German doesn’t see any other way to find drivers at the moment.

The Association for Freight Transport (Fachverband Güterkraftverkehr), on the other hand, criticises such practices as “immoral and harmful to the business climate”. Claus Herzig, president of the organisation, also runs a transport company, but in his search for staff, he focuses primarily on social media, cinema advertising, ads on trailers and education.

When you train a driver and then someone steals him, now that is annoying,” adds Herzig.

It is worth hiring professionals to find a driver

There are not enough truck drivers and this shortage will get worse. Advertisements on vehicle tarpaulins, banners and social media are no longer working. It is, therefore, no wonder that more and more companies decide to pay current employees for driver referrals. They are still reluctant to use hiring agencies, although their services may be less costly than truck downtime and cancellation of orders.

However, there are other solutions on the market that help carriers find a suitable candidate to work in a truck driver’s cab, e.g. TransJobs.eu. It is a recruitment platform based on a system that automates part of the process, thanks to which, the costs of searching for a driver and the price of the service, are lower than, for example, in an employment agency.

Photo: Trans.INFO

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