From monotony to versatility: How trucking can soon be a popular career choice for youth, women


As a restricted, monotonous vocation that has garnered very limited attraction from the youth as an interesting career choice, Truck Driving is now on en route to becoming a versatile occupation, open to youth and especially women.

With many commercial truck manufacturers in the US, Europe and other parts of the world currently engaged in the process of designing sophisticated, semi-autonomous/autonomous and intelligent trucks, truck driving is all set to emerge as a fun, attractive and popular occupation for millions of young drivers across the world.

Generally seen as a cumbersome, dull and monotonous job, Truck driving has rarely seemed to draw women and youth participation in it, added to a host of disadvantages that it has, which include hours and days at a stretch on highways devoid of proper rest, family connect, social life or recreation. These cons have been sufficient enough to prevent millions of youngsters from taking up careers in trucking even though many countries have been reeling under the unemployment crisis.

Driver shortage:

Driver shortage has been a recurrent problem in many countries across the globe, with the United States reporting a current shortage of 60,000 drivers. On the other hand, Europe is facing a 17 per cent shortage of truck drivers, though the UK alone has over 300,000 truck drivers. Driver scarcity is an issue that has reverberated across the globe, including India.

Women drivers account for only 2%:

As per a recent research, the average age of truckers globally is 50 and only 5 per cent are under the age of 25. Most drivers are male and women drivers account for only 2 per cent. Hence, the industry is under high pressure to make the segment more appealing to existing drivers, women and youth in general. In this regard, technology may soon serve as a bridge to fill the void and put the spotlight on how it can be a lucrative career option for all.

Technology to the rescue:

To keep up with the times, truck makers have started investing in new technologies to achieve not only efficiencies but also to remove driver shortages.

Among popular truck brands that have initiated this change and leap to autonomous technology, we have Volvo, DAF, Paccar, and Daimler attempting to automate the trucking segment. Start-ups like Einride from Sweden and TuSimple from California claim fully automated trucks in a five to eight-year time horizon while Elon Musk’s Tesla already has an all EV long-haul truck in development.

These initiatives are aimed at higher levels of comfort and automation, such that on longer highway runs, the driver may have time for lesiure or even have respite for other tasks.

The need to make trucking interesting comes at a time when drivers’ shortage has emerged as a rising problem across the globe. For the logistics and supply chain industry, it is high time that changes are adequately introduced into the trucking segment to bridge the gap between demand and supply.

As the backbone of a country’s economy, trucking and road transport is a huge industry with its worth estimated over $700 billion globally. Sweeping changes are already underway across the world in terms of huge investments in cleaner and greener fuel technologies that are taking place.

Truck population in India is currently growing at a rate of 15 percent per annum, taking the current total number to over 2,000 trucks per million population and the utilisation of trucks to around 80,000 km per year, in comparison to the corresponding figures for the USA at 100 times more.

In India, trucking industry is a major player in cargo movement, carrying over 55 per cent of the tonne-km. Today, over 65 per cent of the country’s freight is being transported on trucks, making it a formidable force for the logistics demands of the country.

Judging by the paramount role played by the Trucking industry and the driver shortage crisis that has been amplified due to the pandemic, it is crucial that immediate steps are taken that can pave the way towards the versatility of this segment.

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