News / We need to change the narrative that it is a bad job

We need to change the narrative that it is a bad job

To address the labor shortage challenges faced by the transport sector, the you have to teach young people that it’s not a bad job, says haulier and board member of a trade association

Written by: Stig Dahlgren Atzen - Journalist


EMPLOYMENT There are actually many young people who think it sounds promising when Kenneth Jensen or someone else from the management of Dantra, which is located in Hjøllund, is out talking about the transport industry at secondary schools.

His sales pitch is also both rehearsed and sharp.

You can watch the sun set over the mountains of northern Norway and get paid very well, and you get to be your own boss.

- Kenneth Jensen

But while many young people find it exciting, they never get behind the wheel. Because when they come home to their parents, they change course.

Then they are told that they should definitely not become drivers. They need to go to university, because not everyone thinks that being a garbage collector, a handyman or a driver is not good enough.

- Kenneth Jensen

He knows how young people react because he tries to go to educational institutions to talk about the industry.

And I always send a director or similar. That says something about how important we think it is.

- Kenneth Jensen

Changing the narrative

In addition to being CEO and owner of Dantra, Kenneth Jensen is a member of the board of Transportens Arbejdsgivere, which represents 800 transport companies in Denmark. He feels that the whole industry is challenged.

There are simply not enough hands and feet.
This means that some people will have to say no. They simply cannot grow as much as they have the potential to. According to a report by the Danish Agency for Labor Market and Recruitment, 44 percent of recruitment attempts in the transport sector in West Jutland are unsuccessful.

- Kenneth Jensen

According to Kenneth Jensen, to solve the challenge, we need to change the way we look at the job of a driver, for example. When young people come home and want to get behind the wheel, they need to be encouraged. Not to be discouraged.

We need to change the narrative that it is a bad job. It is not.

- Kenneth Jensen

Not reaching top speed

In his own business, Kenneth Jensen also finds that the lack of labor means that growth has stagnated before it hit its peak. It has gone from years of stable growth of between 3 and 5 percent to hitting 10 percent during corona. But here it has lost momentum.

If we could provide the workforce, it could be much higher. The demand is there. But it is a huge challenge.

- Kenneth Jensen

The challenge is not lessened by the fact that his company Dantra specializes in cargo chemical material. In principle, it can be cooking oil. But they can also be acids so strong that they can corrode stainless steel.

This means wearing protective equipment when unloading at the customer's premises and being more vigilant in general.

Unfortunately, we cannot take just anyone. You need to have a special eye for safety and quality with us. This means that if there are 10 drivers available, we may only be able to use two of them.

- Kenneth Jensen

On the other hand, he has an advantage in that Dantra is a company that is over 100 years old. The director believes that the good name helps in the job search.

We are a family-run business that cares a lot about making it a nice place to be. I know it's something everyone says, but for us it really matters.

- Kenneth Jensen

At industry level, there is also a challenge beyond not having enough people to reach the growth potential. When there is a shortage of workers, employers do not have the same opportunities to choose between qualified people.

We need someone to be behind the wheel. But we also want the best possible people - and it's difficult to find more qualified people when there are none.

- Kenneth Jensen

Cannot be imported

According to Kenneth Jensen, some people think he can just bring in workers from other EU countries, perhaps even at a cheap rate. But this is not the case.

There is a shortage of 400,000 drivers in Europe. They are also missing them in Poland. We cannot import labor.

- Kenneth Jensen

He also points out that it's no longer like the old days, when Danish wages made it hugely attractive for Eastern European drivers to come here to work.

The whole EU has risen and is still rising. They get a good salary at home, so why should they come here?

- Kenneth Jensen

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