Truckie recruitment can't keep up

Isuzu boss again flags crisis of age in transport industry

Truckie recruitment can't keep up
Where are all the other young drivers?


Isuzu Australia Limited (IAL) director and COO Phil Taylor has renewed calls for stakeholders to consider employment and the future prosperity of the transport and logistics sector after conducting an in-depth review of the latest Census employment data.

For Taylor, the figures within the data addressing Transport and logistics employment highlight the industry’s current workforce is ageing, and not growing in line with the rising demand for freight.

"The release of more detailed Census data in October last year provides even more compelling insights into the transport and logistics sector, and the picture it paints is cause for reflection," he says.

"In the 2001 Census, the average age of ‘transport and storage’ workers was 35 to 44 years.

"In last year’s Census, the average ‘transport, postal and warehousing’ employee had aged to be between 45 and 54 years old.

"We need to ensure that the operational knowledge of the current generation of transport and logistics professionals isn’t lost forever.

"The industry needs to start having the tough conversations about what can be done so a younger crop of professionals can inherit the wisdom of the industry’s current employees."

The intervention comes after Taylor joined Volvo Group Australia (VGA) president and CEO Peter Voorhoeve in 2016 in flagging the looming recruitment crisis in the industry, particularly for drivers.

Taylor’s new call to action comes in the wake of figures projecting significant, sustained growth in the national freight task.

The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) has modelled predictions that forecast Australia’s transport will increase by 26 per cent from 2016 to 2026.

"Over the 15 years where the freight task grew by 40 per cent, Census data shows employment in the ‘ transport, storage and warehousing’ sector grew by 28 per cent," Taylor says.

"A range of factors is driving the sustained growth of the freight task.

"It’s imperative the transport and logistics sector has the right people in place to ensure this growth isn’t hindered."

He urges federal and state governments to work with transport industry bodies to address the situation.

"Worker shortages in the transport and logistics sector will impact on all Australians. An issue this broad needs a collaborative effort to generate innovative and meaningful solutions," Taylor says.

"In what is a clear positive, we’re starting to see that government initiatives can have a real impact in helping to create career pathways within our industry.

"The $760 million Youth Jobs PaTH program announced in the federal 2016/17 budget has created a circumstance where transport companies can partner with the Department of Employment to establish trial programs within the industry that aim to deliver tangible solutions in response to one of the most significant issues our industry is presently facing.

"The reality is that hiring employees is an expense for companies, and that many small to medium operators in the transport and logistics sector aren’t willing to take it on, especially if they feel any new employee might not be equipped with the skills necessary to hit the ground running.

"Anything that can be done to address concerns of this nature will be hugely beneficial to the industry as a whole."

He points out that the statistics around industry employment like those included in the 2016 Census data highlighted how necessary it is for those discussions to commence sooner rather than later.

"Our industry has a responsibility to the wider Australian community to be able to deliver vital services," Taylor says.

"To do this effectively we need to start talking about how we can bolster our industry with a new breed of professionals.

"Working to improve career pathways into the sector and developing meaningful partnerships with government bodies to address this issue will help ensure the vital contributions our industry makes within Australian society do not waiver and that the transport and logistics sector continues to prosper."


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