Global truck driver shortage will double by 2028

Over three million truck driver jobs are unfilled, or 7% of total positions, in 36 countries studied in a new report produced by the International Road Transport Union (IRU). The report highlights the growing crisis of a professional driver shortage, which poses a significant threat to both the industry and national economies. According to the research, which surveyed more than 4700 trucking firms across the Americas, Asia, and Europe—including the UK and, accounting for 72% of the global GDP—the shortage has intensified globally in 2023.

The IRU warns that if no measures are taken to attract and retain drivers, the deficit could escalate to over seven million by 2028 in the countries surveyed. This includes a projected shortfall of 4.9 million in China (20% of total positions), 745,000 in Europe (17% of total positions), and 200,000 in Türkiye (28% of total positions).

IRU Secretary General Umberto de Pretto expressed concern over the structural problems perpetuating the shortage, emphasising the need for immediate action. He pointed out the profession's ageing demographic, with less than 12% of truck drivers under 25 years old, which drops to a mere 5% in Europe. Additionally, the proportion of female truck drivers remains low at just 6% globally, with China and the United States having the highest representation at 6% and 8%, respectively.

Mr. de Pretto suggests facilitating the entry of qualified drivers from third countries to address the shortage. This strategy conflicts with our UK Government's recent move to tighten regulations on the employment of foreign workers.