Driver shortage and aging workforce set to stress German supply chains

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With 30,000 truck drivers retiring every year, one-third of drivers being over 55, and only a few young people under 25 entering the profession, Germany's supply chains are threatened with collapse within a few years, warns the BGA, Germany's wholesale and trading association.

Driver shortage and aging workforce set to stress German supply chains
Photo: Rolf van Melis, CC BY-SA 2.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons

There is currently a lack of 60,000 to 80,000 professional drivers in Germany, the latest figures revealed. What’s more, every third HGV driver is over 55, and every year 30,000 professional drivers retire, but the number of young people entering the profession is very low.

“Without quick action, supply chains may risk collapsing due to the current driver shortage. Poor working conditions and the negative image of the profession are the main reasons for the lack of HGV drivers,” said Carsten Taucke, chairman of the German BGA (Bundesverband Großhandel, Außenhandel, Dienstleistungen – Federal Association of Wholesale, Foreign Trade, Services) Traffic Committee, when commenting on the latest figures published by the Federal Statistics Office.

Taucke thinks that the lack of proper HGV parks at motorway services also adds to the problem and, therefore, there is an urgent need for action – with broad political support from the federal, state and local governments.

“It is necessary to to increase the attractiveness of the profession, mainly through better working conditions and market-based remuneration, as well as by shortening training,” Taucke continues.

The published figures show that in a few years a third of all drivers will reach retirement age and so the driver shortage will become an even more serious problem.

“HGV drivers still have a key function for the economy. They are the pillars of logistics and ensure our daily supply. I wish that this professional group get more appreciation,” Taucke concludes.

The latest figures published by the Federal Statistical Office on Wednesday show that the number of trainees at the end of 2020 was higher than 10 years ago, which is a good sign. However, the proportion of drivers over 55 is significantly higher than anywhere else in the labour market and this is concerning. There are hardly any career starters under the age of 25 – this age group make up just 3 per cent of the current workforce.

Also, when it comes to the men-female proportion of the profession, the figures show an alarming discrepancy: regarding the overall workforce in Germany, the proportion of women compared to the whole is 47 per cent, but among HGV drivers ladies are more than underrepresented with their current 3 per cent.

Photo: Rolf van Melis, CC BY-SA 2.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons

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