Due to the shortage of truck drivers - along with the other factors brought on by the pandemic - trucking companies are doing everything they can to hire and retain qualified drivers. To combat the shortage, trucking companies and recruiters are trying a range of tactics, including increasing pay.
Arnoux Maré, managing director at Innovative Learning Solutions discusses the opportunity truck drivers are presented with to fill in the skills shortage gap in the transport and logistics industry and increase their earnings by leveraging their training and experience.
The transportation industry like most sectors is still reeling from the effects of the pandemic and a contraction of the economy. However, as the country gears up to reclaim some semblance of normality, drivers are presented with an opportunity to not only fill the skills shortage gap present in the transport and logistics industry but can leverage their training and experience to increase their earnings
"Professionally trained drivers are in high demand as the industry aims to regain the losses suffered under the various lockdown levels and stifled economy. Drivers which fall in this category have specific skillsets such as, driving in wet conditions; economical driving; heavy goods vehicle braking; straight reverse and ally docking," explains Maré.
The Department of Labour published its minimum wages for South Africans who drive as wholesale and retail truck drivers, in February 2021. Code 14 drivers who worked in more populated municipalities could expect to earn no less than R 6,083.53 a month. However, this figure is not reflective of what more experienced drivers can earn in South Africa.
Data sourced from salary website Indeed shows that the base salary for a truck driver is closer to R10,324 per month in South Africa – or roughly R124,000 a year and comparative salary information from PayScale shows that the average pay is slightly lower at R98,225 a year, or R8,185 a month.
The more qualified a driver is the better efficient they become, this also extends to their reliability leading to increased productivity which positively impacts their employers’ bottom line, offering them a huge negotiation advantage over their peers without the necessary training.
"It is not just the drivers who stand to benefit from having skills that set them apart. Businesses that invest in the development of systems and staff, increase their functionality and gain valuable data and insights over the industry and competition.
"As companies also seek to trim costs, being leaner and more capable of doing more with less will likely be more commonplace. This includes improving recruitment processes to ensure drivers beyond the technical know-how required of all drivers also have necessary soft skills such as communication, motivation and customer services," concludes Maré.