Comment: Uncertainity remains in 2022

By: Fiona McDonagh, Te ara ki tua Road to success project co-ordinator, Photography by: Supplied

Fiona McDonagh says the trucking industry will continue to be dominated by uncertainty, and the driver shortage won’t be going away

Decent work-life balance is critical to the new generation of professional drivers

You can be sure of only two things when you consider what 2022 could hold for us and that is that it will still be dominated by uncertainty and the industry’s driver shortage won’t be going away.

Understanding that this environment is the reality that road transport now operates in and adapting to that needs to be at the heart of how we look at staff recruitment and retention going forward.

How we make our industry more attractive to those who are looking to start a new career in 2022 must be a focus for us all. We must ask ourselves the following questions: how are our businesses set up to encourage diversity among applicants, and how do we catch the attention of young people leaving school with no fixed plans for their careers?

Making sure that we have really looked at the way we run our fleets and manage our teams will be key to answering these. Our future workforce wants, and expects, flexibility within their jobs.

Work-life balance, while a myth to some, plays a major part in how many school-leavers look at their career options. The days of transport operators expecting drivers to tie themselves to the driver’s seat for 70 hours a week, starting at sunrise and parking up after dark, need to fast become a thing of the past and for many forward-thinking operators, it is.

If you want to see more women behind the wheel in your business, promoting flexibility will be key. A working day that fits around family responsibilities is often what is required, and many sectors are a lot better than us at providing for that.

However, it can be achieved in road freight too. Starting at 5am and finishing at 2pm, or 3pm-12am, means being a parent and a truck driver is achievable and many are out there successfully doing that right now.

As Te ara ki tua Road to success works alongside our trainees at the start of their journey; we focus a lot of attention on the support we give to their employers, who have taken a chance on them.

From an employer’s perspective, taking on a trainee is a leap of faith as there is no certainty as to how it will work out. However, ensuring that best practice induction and onboarding is available for our trainees and their employers has definitely helped some operators identify ways to improve their existing processes.

This in turn encourages better employment practices all round, which is absolutely crucial if staff retention is also part of the business plan. Road to success is committed to ensuring that the opportunity to work in a progressive industry that welcomes those who have a passion for driving and contributing to keeping our economy moving is as attractive and attainable as it can be.

We do this by providing tools to help operators include their wider team in training, develop training plans that teach skills and abilities essential to be a professional driver, encourage completion of qualifications and celebrate the successes that come along the journey. This will also ensure we meet the expectations set by industry, when it comes to contribution to a sustainable workforce.

What we are aiming for is an industry environment that no matter how big or small a transport company is, how many trucks they run, or the size of their team, every operator has the ability to attract and retain quality staff through achieving a good reputation as a fair and equitable employer. That alone will almost ensure they are inundated with future applications to join their team. 

More information on Road to success and how prospective trainees and operators can join the programme is available at

Find new and used trucks for sale in NZ 

Keep up to date in the industry by signing up to Deals on Wheels' free newsletter or liking us on Facebook