Does it seem as though we’ve had a driver shortage since the diesel engine was invented? Where did all the drivers go?

This EU shortage actually began back in 1973, which is when the training as a professional driver in the Federal Republic of Germany started, followed by Austria and Switzerland, 1977 in Belgium, Netherland and France. Italy and Spain followed a few years later. Since then, in these countries, the title “Professional Driver” has also been protected by law. Until then the driver was only a “worker with a driving license” The high economic importance of commercial road haulage and passenger transport on the road and the enormous increase in road traffic should be taken into account by improving the professional qualifications of drivers. The increasing technology and the organizational change in the logistics sector also require a comprehensive qualification of the drivers. It also required that drivers be able to read, write, and speak the local language and yes English well enough to communicate with law enforcement officers in the different EU countries. It also required a medical certification that prohibits drivers with some medical conditions from operating a commercial motor vehicle.

This professional driver training was never introduced in the Northern and the Eastern Europen countries, hens the reason the EU introduced the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC).  The Driver CPC is a qualification for professional bus, coach and lorry drivers. It has been introduced across Europe with the professed aim of improving road safety and helping to maintain high standards of driving. The legislation came into effect on 10 September 2009.

In the earlier years, these two changes created a real challenge in the transport industry. Many drivers couldn’t pass the exam, couldn’t pass a medical exam, or couldn’t prove that they were legally authorized to work in the EU. Now we have the other regulations the “Driver CPC” come into play that also limits the number of available of drivers and the hours they can work:

• Different industries enacted a Pre-Employment Screening Program that scores drivers based on their driving record and behaviour
• Sleep apnea and other medical conditions are more closely monitored
• Hours of service limitations mean we need more drivers to move the country’s freight
• Career truck drivers are ageing out of the system as boomers retire

So how do we recruit the next generation of healthy, happy drivers? Here are three strategies for placing your recruiting collateral:

1. Differentiate yourself.
If you jobs listing anywhere in the EU, you’ll see ad after ad for drivers. What do they all have in common? They require navigating to a website to complete an application.  With lengthy desktop employment applications have a 97% drop off.  If you’re using a long-form application, this could be one of your recruiting bottlenecks.

Drivers are busy and keep tight schedules. Since they’re always on the go, almost all have mobile devices or tablets, but they rarely carry computers with them.   It’s a real nuisance for many driver candidates to go to a desktop version of an application. Make it easy for them to apply by advertising a text number instead of a link to a website. Then make sure that the link takes driver candidates to a short form application with just the basic information you need to see if he or she will be a good fit.

Finally, don’t ask for a drivers’ license, social security number, or date of birth right up front.  Many candidates — including truck drivers — are rightfully wary about giving out sensitive personal information.   Asking for this on an employment application is like trying to kiss someone on a first date before you even buy them a drink.  So slow down and build a relationship with the candidate before you ask for this sensitive information.

By asking for limited information on an application and deferring sensitive, personal information until after you actually speak to the driver candidate you’ll be doing something a lot of other companies don’t do:  treating the driver applicant like a real, live human being.  You will differentiate yourself in the market just by making this simple change.

2. Get creative with QR codes.

Local drivers are often the hardest to recruit since their jobs require so much physical labor. Soft drink and beer distributors are always looking for help.

I recently attended a festival and was surprised to see our local beer distributor pouring craft beers. I’m sure they won a few new customers, but they certainly missed an opportunity to recruit drivers and warehouse employees. It’s easy to build a recruiting campaign around a great product. Simply put QR codes and/or text numbers on cups, coasters, business cards, and other and promotional items.

3. Appeal to spouses

Don’t underestimate the influence a spouse or significant other has on a driver’s decision to work for your company. Drivers may be too busy to find your ad, but you can recruit them through their spouses.

Appeal to spouses by placing flyers at day care centers, car washes, laundromats, grocery stores, churches, and other places that people visit to take care of their basic needs.

If you offer local or regional work, stress that your drivers are home every night or every weekend. If you offer over-the-road work, make sure you advertise that you have a family ride-along program.

4. Get Social

Don’t forget about social media. Drivers and their spouses often spend a lot of time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms. Manage your social platforms thoughtfully and regularly. If it’s done right, these platforms can become an excellent communication tool for your employees, customers, and potential candidates.

Social media advertising can also be quite effective. We have resources that go far beyond typical social media targeted advertising, so please contact us if you would like some innovative methods to recruit truckers on social media.


It’s increasingly difficult to recruit drivers as the regulatory environment continues to evolve in the transport industry. Employers need to think outside the box and become more creative in their sourcing strategies. Many drivers love technology, so don’t be afraid to use QR codes and texting in your sourcing efforts. Think about a driver’s family life in your recruiting efforts, and place your recruiting collateral at places they’re sure to visit. Finally, social media advertising, if done effectively, can also help you fill those empty seats.