How do you effectively address the shortage of drivers and other moving personnel in the moving industry? 

June 3, 2024

By Koenraad Vangoidsenhoven, Director, Belgian Removers Association, BKV-CBD 

The moving industry is facing a major challenge: the shortage of drivers and other moving personnel. This problem affects the efficiency of removals and creates major problems for moving companies around the world. But how do you tackle this?  

There is a lot of talk about this issue, studies are conducted and strategies are developed, but usually it stops there. 

A complex problem 

The shortage of drivers and other logistics staff is a complex problem that requires a multifaceted approach. By investing in employee appreciation and development, providing flexibility, embracing technology and promoting collaboration and diversity, companies can effectively address this shortage. Clearly, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, but with the right strategies and a commitment to continuous improvement, moving companies can move one step closer to solving this challenging problem. 

Industry cooperation 

The moving industry as a whole could benefit from more cooperation at local and European level to address staff shortages. This could range from joint training programmes to sharing best practices in recruitment and retention. By joining forces, moving companies can deal more efficiently with the challenges they face. 

But even in this area, it is challenging to launch initiatives, let alone to obtain the active cooperation and support of individual moving companies. 

They complain a lot, but when it comes to getting out from behind their computer or TV, they fail. 

It is an illusion for a moving company or an industry organisation to wait for others to solve this problem. The effect is the same as waiting at an abolished bus stop. After all, the bus one is waiting for never shows up. 

Rethinking the profession 

The first step in addressing the shortage is to revalue the profession of movers and logistics workers. This starts with improving working conditions and offering competitive salaries. By making the profession more attractive, you will attract more potential employees. Moreover, offering additional benefits, such as flexible working hours and health benefits, can help retain current employees. 

Another approach is to improve perceptions of the profession. Many people have an outdated image of logistics work, which no longer reflects reality. By actively working on a more positive image, for example through marketing campaigns or collaborations with educational institutions, moving companies can generate more interest among potential employees. 

Investing in training and development 

The lack of qualified staff is another core problem. By investing in training and development, companies can create their own talent pool. This includes not only offering training for new employees, but also providing advancement opportunities for current employees. By giving employees the chance to develop, you increase their engagement and reduce the likelihood of turnover. 

By working together, companies can offer internship programmes or apprenticeships that prepare students for a career in logistics. 

Flexibility and work-life balance 

In today’s labour market, employees increasingly value flexibility and a good work-life balance. Companies that respond to this are more likely to recruit and retain staff. This can be done, for example, by offering flexible work schedules, where relocation employees have more control over their hours and relocation recruitment. 

In addition, introducing part-time opportunities or job sharing may be of interest to people who want to work in logistics but cannot or do not want to commit to a full-time job. This flexibility can make the profession more accessible to a wider group of potential employees. 

Technology and automation 

Technology and automation offer opportunities to make work more efficient and attractive. By investing in the latest technologies, companies can reduce staff workload and increase safety. This not only makes the profession more attractive, but also contributes to employee retention. 

At the same time, technology can help improve the efficiency of relocation processes, making it possible to do more work with fewer staff. This can alleviate some of the pressure on the labour market. 

Attention to diversity 

Attracting a diverse group of employees can also help solve the shortage. By focusing on inclusiveness and diversity, moving companies can tap into new talent pools. This includes actively recruiting women, older workers and people from migrant backgrounds. 

Creating an inclusive work environment, where everyone feels welcome and valued, is essential for attracting and retaining diverse talent. This requires a conscious effort by companies to eliminate bias in the recruitment process and ensure equal opportunities for all. 

Do we all work to turn fine words and strategies into action, or do we settle down at an abolished bus stop, waiting for a bus/solution that never comes?