The performance of the French road transport industry in the first quarter of this year deteriorated. The sector’s activity has decreased, costs have increased, and carriers have problems finding employees.
According to the economic barometer presented every quarter by the most important FNTR industry association in France (La Fédération Nationale des Transports Routiers), the situation of the local industry deteriorated compared to the previous year. Transport companies have seen a decline in activity in the first three months of this year. In addition, entrepreneurs complained about the increase in costs associated with a 4.3 percent increase in fuel prices (compared to the same period in 2017). Carriers also expect that in the following months their activity will continue to decline, among others, due to staff shortages.
French carriers are looking for drivers
According to FNTR estimates, there is a shortage of 20 thousand truckers in France. Carriers cannot find employees, even though they offer thousands of jobs. As reported by the French media, this deficit will soon affect the industry and the price of services. Many trucks, like in Germany, are at a standstill because there is no one to drive them – reports portal transpoco.com. Companies must give up orders because they are unable to implement them. The situation is becoming tenser due to staff shortages. Carriers cannot serve all clients or carry out orders with delays. It will get even worse because one-third of truckers have already crossed the age of 50 and every year one thousand of them retire.
The reasons for the lack of drivers in France
Young people are not interested in working in the industry because of the low attractiveness of the profession and the bad image of drivers. Earnings do not seem to be high enough to reward inconveniences such as separation from the family, stress or bad treatment on the ramps.
Will a stock option package attract more drivers?
Stef Transport France found an interesting way to attract new employees. An enterprise employing 3 thousand drivers were looking for another 550 to carry out regional and national transport. To encourage drivers to take up a job, Stef Transport offers them shares or a savings program. A stock option package or a savings account will be given to anyone who has been in the company for at least three months. As emphasized by Renaud Bouet, HR director at Stef Transport France, the employee share ownership model has not been used in the transport industry.
We asked Marcin Wolak from the TransJobs.eu recruitment platform if this was a good solution:
In a situation where carriers across Europe have to cope with the shortage of professional drivers, every idea of attracting employees is good. The most important thing is that companies look for a golden mean and offer various non-wage benefits. It is difficult to judge how this particular case will work, although it seems to me that the stock option package will not cause a large reduction in turnover – it all depends on their value and number, which in turn is limited – says Wolak.
The problems of the French transport industry are deepening. The carriers there are no longer able to keep up with the demand for transport services. Nevertheless, the French are still focusing on the shares in the European market picked up by the eastern carriers and are trying to push through unfavorable regulations for the industry throughout the European Union. Between 2005 and 2016, international transport carried out by French transport companies dropped by 33 percent. Poles at that time recorded over 360 percent growth. And although the desire to recover „a piece of cake” taken is understandable, it is not to be forgotten that the market reality and the capabilities of the French transport industry are limited at the moment. Who will transport cheese, wine and all the rest from France to other member countries, if the provisions of the Mobility Package come into force in their current form? Nobody thought about it in the West …