Road transport is recruiting: how to attract 50,000 candidates to a disparaged profession?

Florence Berthelot, general delegate of the National Federation of Road Transport (FNTR), sounds the alarm: the sector urgently needs 40,000 to 50,000 employees, mainly drivers, but also forklifts and operating personnel ”.

Road transport is one of the sectors of activity that are struggling to recruit, along with catering, construction and digital. Alerted by employer officials, the government has just announced measures.

A sector reserved neither for young people nor for men

Absences, tiring hours, polluting activity … Faced with the poor image of the road world, Florence Berthelot highlights the salaries practiced in a profession which is not reserved for young people or men. Road transport is a good way to retrain and the branch has had a good training tool for a long time. Women are finding their place more and more there, especially at the wheel of buses, coaches and express delivery vans, activities that make it possible to return home every evening.

Dry failure of recruitments

On the ecological side, Florence Berthelot ensures – although the use of hydrogen, electricity and natural gas is still embryonic – that the fleet of 600,000 French trucks has begun its energy transformation ”.

In continuous growth since 2012, road transport has been penalized, since a rebound in activity in 2017, by a dry breakdown in recruitments. And it should get worse. With 30% of the workforce over the age of 50, while the retirement age is set at 57 years under certain conditions, it is a third of the road freight transport staff who will be on the ground by 2035, generating 200,000 vacant positions.

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Compensation question

To find drivers, you would already have to pay them properly,estimates Patrice Clos, secretary general of the Federation of Transport Force Ouvrière and former driver for twenty years. Formerly, the coefficient 150 meant one and a half times the minimum wage. Since 2004, the employers have not stopped devaluing wages. The driver who fills up overtime earns € 2,000 net, plus a few costs. It’s hardly better than at the factory when he’s been gone all week …

Patrice Clos also returns large French transport companies “To their own policy of relocation to Eastern European countriesin a universe deregulated by Europe ”.Despite a regulation that came into force in 2020, which requires drivers to return to their country of residence every four weeks, we still have Polish, Bulgarian, Romanian or Lithuanian drivers who drive for a year without returning home ”. This for salaries that can be three times lower than that of French drivers.

An inapplicable European directive

And rest times are well monitored, thanks to the intelligent tachograph, this is not the case with wages. A foreign driver is supposed to benefit from the French salary in proportion to his driving time in France. But unless French inspectors go to search Romania or Poland, this European directive, made more severe by Emmanuel Macron at the start of his mandate, seems inapplicable in road transport.

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