Are drivers satisfied with their work? It is scientifically proven that…

23 March 2020

Many truck drivers have been very disappointed at the beginning of their career. Colourful dreams of freedom, meeting new places and interesting people, the brutal fist of reality destroyed after the first week of work. Do you know this and nod with understanding? Fortunately, this is not the only truth.

The story of many drivers begins in a similar way: interested in technology, then a love of driving trucks, finally the decision to get the necessary qualifications and becoming a professional driver. The perspectives are endless. First of all, work is relatively easy in terms of physical effort, well paid, there is a possibility of visiting Europe, lack of superiors, new friendships. Such sort of lifestyle can be misleading.

Meanwhile, he puts the reality on his shoulders right away, after a few courses. You don’t even have to wait for the international route, you just need to transport something from Podlasie to Łódź. You are beginning to understand that cheerful green crocodiles will soon be associated with swollen reptiles, and the law does not always have worthy goals. You understand that this profession is not hard, but simply exhausting… Meanwhile, rarely does a driver give up this job. Why?

Bad fame goes on and on from afar.

The European transport industry is currently facing staff shortages. According to the International Road Transport Union (IRU), today the lack of drivers in Poland reaches 22%. The deficit is predicted to increase even further. Even employees from abroad will not help. In such Romania, for example, the deficit is estimated at 50 percent, and in 2020 it will even reach over 60 percent. These are hundreds of thousands of missing truck drivers.

What is wrong with this profession? There are many reasons for such gaps: aging staff, lack of young people, lack of appropriate schools shaping future drivers. And it all comes down to one thing – a bad reputation. This has been confirmed by IRU research, which shows that bad reputation – right or wrong – effectively deters young people from working in this profession. Other problems indicated by the respondents were working conditions and long periods of separation from the family and staying away from home. 

You won’t be sure until you try

According to the report “Remuneration and situation of professional drivers” of December 2019, prepared by the Polish Institute of Road Transport (PITD), the vast majority of drivers… like their work. And it’s despite the bad fame, brutal reality, accompanying difficulties, threats and stress. And above all, against the complains of the drivers themselves. Is that possible?

When asked whether drivers like their work, 80% of truckers in PITD research answered “yes” or “rather yes”. Similar results were obtained by the Polish National Centre for Driver Accounting (OCRK) in its 2017 study. “Who is a Polish truck driver?”. At that time, 79% of respondents admitted to their passion for their profession, emphasizing that their profession is appropriate to them because it allows them to get to know new places and people, and because they do not have to worry about the lack of vacancies.

Why do drivers like their job?

When asked in the PITD survey what they like the most about their profession as a professional driver, the respondents replied as follows:

– 52%. – getting to know new places,

– 47%. – salary, 

– 29%. – meeting new people, 

– 22%. – flexible working hours, 

– 15% – a large number of vacancies in the market. 

Some people also paid attention to self-driving (driving enthusiasts) and a lot of independence. Although in the latter case, it is possible to start a serious discussion whether a modern driver, having at his disposal monitors, applications, TMS and other telematics can still talk about independence and privacy at work.

And is there something wrong with it?

Most drivers like their work, which doesn’t mean that they don’t see the wrong side in it either. The following answers were given to the question of what truckers do not like about their job:

– 68% – long separations with family and friends,

– 62%. – danger on the road, 

– 59%. – stress,

– 26%. – long hours behind the wheel. 

The Trans.INFO study of 2018 showed similar negative trends, although with some percentage differences. As you can see, the disincentives to the occupation of truck driver remain the same.

Scientifically proven – yes, most drivers like their job. The profession has a lot of downsides, often it can be disappointing, but yet few decide to leave. This work just draws lorry drivers in.

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