There is a shortage of almost 3 million drivers in the world. What is the situation in Europe?
According to the latest figures from the International Road Transport Union (IRU), the global driver shortage is increasing, although it decreased in Europe in 2023 compared to the previous year. Unfortunately, the global situation may become truly apocalyptic within the next five years.
About 2.8 million drivers are missing. The Motor Transport Union analyzed the situation in the most important European markets, in Russia, Turkey, Central Asia, China, as well as in the USA, Mexico and Argentina.
This year, the problem has worsened in most regions studied, with the exception of… the US and Europe, which have been facing a driver shortage for years. In 2023, only 64,000 truck drivers were short in the US, and 233,000 in Europe.
This is compared to 12 percent. in China, 14 percent. in Russia, 15 percent in Uzbekistan and 16 percent in Turkey. There is a shortage of as many as 2.2 million drivers in the Celestial Empire (!).
More does not mean better
In Europe, the shortfall of 233,000 long-haul drivers is an improvement on estimates for 2021-22, when there were even 400,000 unfilled vacancies on the Old Continent. For example, the IRU estimated the deficit in Poland at 80,000, and the European Commission even at 120,000. Today’s Europe-wide figures only a year or two ago were led by Poland, Germany and Great Britain.
Unfortunately, the improvement in the situation in Europe is not due to an increase in the supply of new workers, but to the fact that the economic recession and inflation, which are most felt in the Old Continent and in North America, have been reflected in a decrease in the demand for transport services. There is still a shortage of drivers, but it is not visible because they are not needed as much as in recent years.
Is the profession not for young people?
A fatal problem for the future is the low proportion of young people in the ranks of drivers. People under the age of 25 make up only 5 percent. drivers in Europe and 8 percent in the USA.
In the United States, 29 percent drivers are over 55 years old, while in Europe this indicator reaches 33 percent. A little less “elders” in Mexico and China – 13 percent. and 14 percent in accordance.
In addition to attracting young people (whose potential in the Western world is limited), one of the sources of replenishment of the sector can be women. Females make up only 4 percent. truck drivers in the EU. In Poland, this figure is 3 percent. For comparison, in the USA women long-distance drivers make up 8 percent. drivers