AGING: There will be more trucking jobs as the aging workforce retires. Photo: File
AGING: There will be more trucking jobs as the aging workforce retires. Photo: File

Drivers keen to land jobs

THE hundreds of job ads for truck drivers every week seem to say there is a shortage, but companies like Followmont are proving there are willing workers out there.

Their recent open day saw about 400 people walk through the gate and apply for a job.

Linehaul manager Clynt Leeson said the shortage was about "quality" drivers.

"A lot of it's to do with the average age of truck drivers. The drivers we have now are close to retirement and we're worried about getting quality," he said.

In a move to attract the best drivers Followmont is trying to set up "lifestyle" jobs. Today's truckies want a good home and life balance.

Mr Leeson said offering their drivers more home time, including every second weekend and a commitment to fatigue management seemed to work.

Their recruitment day had a "huge" response.

"Growth means we have to find drivers to sit in trucks," he said.

"The industry is heavily regulated and therefore drivers have to be more professional and so do companies.

"With our shuttles and having blokes being able to get home for their required rest, it is a good job."

Richers Transport's Dave Johnson said there had been a shortage in the past, but in north Queensland where he was based there were enough drivers.

"The mines do affect us, but people seem to come back," he said.

Meanwhile in Brisbane, he had heard some companies were struggling to find good drivers.

"It takes weeks to train new B-double drivers," he said.

"There will be problems when this generation of drivers retire. Of our 90 trucks, at least 10-15% of the drivers will retire in the next couple of years."

Richers also offers a good work and home balance for their drivers.

"Gone are the days when you send guys away for two to three months. Our guys get home at least one day a weekend. They want more family time."

Toll spokesman Christopher Whitefield agreed the biggest challenge facing the industry in the next five to 10 years is declining numbers of young drivers joining the industry.

He said Toll had positioned itself as an employer of choice.

"While Toll has a large and stable core driver base, we do experience some difficulty in retaining drivers in some regional locations," he said.

"This is usually where we compete directly with the mining industry or where two-up driver operations are required, as the majority of drivers prefer single driver work.

"To address these challenges, Toll continues to extend its shuttle operations to help minimise two up driving. Toll also provides wages that are well above award, sleeping accommodation on linehaul routes, and a modern fleet as part of the excellent conditions to retain drivers who we recognise are an important part of our business.

"We are currently looking at how best to split up the current 4500km Brisbane to Perth route into five single driver sections to make them more appealing to linehaul drivers to help address the turnover challenges we face."

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