Release Date:
Release ID: 4507

Getting professional drivers back on the road after the economic crisis

IRU Seminar highlights that a stronger focus on skills and an improved image for the sector are needed to attract drivers and support economic recovery.

Brussels – The IRU seminar on “Image and Employment in Road Transport” today brought together some 100 representatives of road transport associations, transport professionals, recruitment and training experts from Europe, CIS countries and the Middle East to exchange best practices for improving the image, recruitment and retention of drivers in the road transport sector.

Vice President of the IRU Commission on Social Affairs, Roxana Ilie, said,”the crisis has hit the road transport sector hard in terms of company bankruptcies and job losses. Government measures to relieve companies have been sporadic at best and there is an urgent need for adequate industry actions to help keep the skilled personnel in the sector until the economy recovers. Every road transport company should implement strategic best practices to deal with this looming problem”.

Indeed, delegates acknowledged the risk of returning to previous driver shortages unless more efforts are made to improve the recruitment and retention of drivers and build a more sustainable workforce. These could include employers and employees routinely agreeing job development plans, setting down training needs and company expectations, which could be periodically reviewed.

Seminar participants stressed that image campaigns, such as the Danish initiative ‘Keeping Denmark Going’ were vital to provide potential drivers and the wider public with a more accurate perception of the contribution of road transport to the economy and society, as well as employment opportunities available to ambitious and well qualified drivers entering the sector.

President of the IRU Commission on Social Affairs, Georges Causse, stressed the importance of skills for both recruitment and retention of drivers: “A new recruitment and training culture based on the acquisition of skills must be developed within the road transport industry, to attract newcomers to the profession. Such a focus on skills is a win-win situation for companies and drivers alike because in a globalised economy, it does not matter whether a company is large or small, but to remain competitive it is the quality of the services that counts. Nothing can improve quality like proper training, and nothing will help retain drivers like skills development enabling them to be the best in their field”.

Participants concluded that enhanced skills and training will also significantly contribute to achieving the industry’s goal of further improving road safety and reducing its carbon footprint through fuel-efficient driving, while providing genuine career development perspectives that will in turn raise the level of professional satisfaction and pride amongst drivers.
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