Surveying 800 road transport companies from over 20 countries, the IRU found that driver shortage was most acute in Eurasia, where last year 20% of driver positions were not filled. China was the least affected country in 2020 with only 4% of jobs open.
Elsewhere, driver shortage was less serious in 2020 than 2019 due to the pandemic. In Europe, unfilled driver positions fell by around three quarters, from 20% to 5% for bus and coach drivers and from 24% to 7% for truck drivers.
Unfilled jobs set to soar in 2021
Transport companies however forecast driver shortages to intensify again in 2021 as economies recover and demand for transport services increases. European companies are expecting a 17% shortfall in drivers this year. This shortfall is expected to reach 18% in Mexico, 20% in Turkey, 24% in Russia, and almost one third in Uzbekistan.
“Driver shortage threatens the functioning of road transport, supply chains, trade, the economy, and ultimately employment and citizens’ welfare. This is not an issue that can wait, action needs to be taken now,” said IRU Secretary General Umberto de Pretto.
The IRU survey also investigated the reasons for driver shortage, finding that a lack of trained drivers was the main cause in all regions (38% of respondents). For the full report visit www.iru.eu