Truck traffic: one-third of all professional drivers are 55 and older

Press release no. 023 of May 4, 2022

  • The proportion of this age group is significantly higher than that of all employed workers
  • Gross revenues in 2021 were lower than the economy as a whole
  • Number of trainees at the end of 2020 higher than ten years earlier

WIESBADEN – Current supply bottlenecks and problems in global supply chains have raised awareness of the importance of professional drivers for a functioning economy – around three quarters of transport performance in the transport of goods were recently carried by road. Around 480,000 people worked in this profession in Germany in 2021. A large proportion of them are likely to retire in the coming years: more than a third (35%) are at least 55 years old, according to the Federal Office statistics (Destatis). This means that the proportion of the 55 and over age group among truckers is significantly higher than among all employment (25%). On the other hand, the number of new entrants under the age of 25 is quite low: they only represent a good 3%. By way of comparison: the under 25s represent nearly 10% of all employed workers. The proportion of women in this occupational group is also noticeably low at 3%. Overall, 47% of all employees are women.

Professional drivers are paid below average

The gross earnings of professional freight transport drivers are relatively low: in 2021, full-time skilled workers who had undergone appropriate training earned an average of 14.67 euros per hour. Semi-skilled workers, such as truck drivers without relevant qualifications, received an average of 12.98 euros. By way of comparison: in the economy as a whole, the average gross hourly wage of skilled workers was 20.44 euros and that of semi-skilled workers was 16.40 euros.

On a monthly basis, this translated to an average gross salary of €2,725 for freight transport specialists, which was €670 less than employees with comparable education and work experience across the economy ( €3,399). Semi-skilled workers earned an average of 2,371 euros gross per month. Economy-wide, the average earnings of this group were almost EUR 350 higher (EUR 2,717 per month).

Increase in the number of trainees

Despite the prospect of relatively low wages, the number of trainee drivers has increased: as of December 31, 2020, nearly 7,700 people were undergoing corresponding training, an increase of 45% compared to 2010. At that time, there were approximately 5,300 at the end of the year in training to become professional drivers. The proportion of women among trainees has also increased over the same period, from 3.7% at the end of 2010 to 8.3% at the end of 2020.

Methodical note:

The results on the number and percentage of professional drivers come from the microcensus. There are first results, which are published first so that there is as little time as possible between the end of the survey year and the communication of the results.

The 2020 microcensus has been methodically redesigned. Detailed information on the changes and effects of the redesign and the Corona crisis on the microcensus can be found on a special page created for this purpose.

Gross earnings do not include special payments. Information on gross earnings comes from the Quarterly Earnings Survey.

Further information:

Other data on gross earnings by economic sector are available in our GENESIS-Online database (table 62321-0001).

Further data and facts about the entire field of formal education from school to vocational training and studies can be found in multimedia form in our new digital magazine. Gender distribution and the under-representation of women in the dual system are also discussed here.

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