We need to get people into the industry who can do the jobs required in running a modern road transport system. Every industry around the world is struggling to find keen, young, motivated competent people to work in their industries. It’s not just the trucking industry’s problem, it’s a global employment problem.
However, what this means is that we, as a trucking industry, have to try to make our industry attractive to bring in the right sort of candidates to take the industry forward into the 21st century. At the same time, other industries are also going through the same process and trying different strategies and tactics to get people on board and to develop interest in their industry.
That would be okay, if we were all on an equal footing. The problem is, of course, that the trucking industry has historically not been a very attractive industry to go to work in. Even when there’s lots of good young people around to come into an industry.
Our industry has been seen as low status, dangerous and relatively unattractive, especially when young people see the representations of our industry, in places like TV shows or on irresponsible ‘news’ outlets like A Current Affair, which always enjoy a good round of truck bashing on a regular basis.
So here we have a trucking industry behind the eight ball struggling with the problem of getting more people to come to work in the industry. We also need to make it a more dynamic and create more interesting jobs, at the same time as other industries are also going through the same process.
Many other industries have the advantage that some of the things which put people off will be overcome by the development of artificial intelligence working in their industry. So the bulk of clerical jobs, a lot of the hard grind, going through lists etc, is going to disappear. AI will be able to handle that.
That is not going to be the case in a lot of the jobs within the trucking industry. Especially those jobs which are the hardest to fill even now, i.e. drivers and technicians.
What’s the solution? The trouble is is nobody knows the solution because we don’t know how this is going to play out. What we do know now is there is a problem and we need to start thinking about it harder, and coming up with ideas. We need to work smarter on making the industry more attractive to outsiders, because we’re not going to be able to keep the industry going just by employing people who are already available, we need to get new blood into the industry.
We need to get them in fast. Otherwise we are going to struggle to compete and Australia’s economic development is going to suffer as a direct result of inefficiencies in the road transport system.