Driver Qualification in the Transport Industry – Empirical Study in Austria



Driver Qualification in the Transport Industry – Empirical Study in Austria

Authors

Maria Dieplinger, Vienna University Of Economics And Business, Kathrin Lenz, Vienna University Of Economics And Business, Sebastian Kummer, Vienna University Of Economics And Business

Description

This paper aims at highlighting the importance of employee qualifications and training opportunities in the transport industry. Furthermore, it was designed to discuss the various causes, effects and solution approaches concerning the current truck driver shortage in Austria.

Abstract

Purpose:
Qualified employees contribute to the success of a company by using their specific skills and knowledge. Besides achieving a competitive advantage, the qualification of truck drivers is also very important to ensure road safety. The current shortage of qualified truck drivers in Austria is expected to worsen because of demographic change, increasing transport volumes, a damaged reputation of the industry and inferior working conditions. A loss in revenue and rising transport costs could be among the consequences. Some solution approaches to reduce the shortage already exist, though. The EU directive 2003/59/EG aims to improve road safety and to reduce the driver shortage by ensuring qualified training. Efficient human resource development is another opportunity to recruit and retain qualified drivers. Moreover, image campaigns designed to raise truck drivers’ reputation and to arouse young people’s interest to start a career in that industry were implemented by various members of the transport sector. In addition, this paper outlines the current legislative framework which applies to the qualification of professional drivers in Austria. Finally, this paper demonstrates that especially an improvement of the working conditions is necessary to make the profession more attractive for potential truck drivers.

Research Approach:
In order to write this paper the author has done a comprehensive literature research - mainly focusing on articles of various journals, magazines and newspapers, as well as websites of relevant companies, chambers and associations. To discuss the legislative framework the author used the relevant legislative texts. Furthermore, the results of recent studies regarding the driver shortage, driver qualification and working conditions are presented. The Austrian transport industry was chosen for empirical study as it is highly affected by the current driver shortage. The Institute for Transport and Logistics Management, Vienna University of Economics and Business conducted a survey in 2012. A sample of 25 transport as well as bus companies across Austria participated in that study. Both industries, the transport as well as the bus companies, received a questionnaire adapted to the special requirements of the particular industry. Several hypotheses and research questions have been raised. Thus, the corresponding questionnaire comprised questions regarding the current driver situation and the recruitment policies. Moreover, the challenges and chances of the statutory driver qualification were surveyed.


Findings:
This paper aims at highlighting the importance of employee qualifications and training opportunities in the transport industry. Furthermore, it was designed to discuss the various causes, effects and solution approaches concerning the current truck driver shortage in Austria. It also focuses on the question if the EU directive 2003/59/EG can reduce the driver shortage.
Our findings show that demand for drivers has increased and is expected to keep rising in the future, even though the demand in the bus industry will not be as high as in the transport industry. The results also indicate that both industries prefer Austrian citizens, primarily experienced drivers and externally-trained candidates. The study outlines that professionalism and social skills are the most important recruitment criteria

Publisher

Association for European Transport