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Source: Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand

At a time of economic stress and high inflation, eight out of 10 trucking companies have reported increasing pay for their drivers over the last year.
A recent survey conducted by industry peak body Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand found that 55 per cent of road transport companies had increased staff pay by at least six per cent over the last year and some by significantly more.
“All New Zealanders are facing massive hikes in the cost of living and these pay increases are fully justified and well-deserved for a workforce that has literally kept this country moving through the pandemic,” says Transporting New Zealand Chief Executive Nick Leggett.
“The days of truck driving being seen as a low paid occupation are well and truly over. It is a highly-skilled job that has grown in importance to New Zealand since COVID with trucking operators reflecting that and paying their staff accordingly.”
Transporting New Zealand notes that there has been clear wage movement from a similar survey undertaken two years ago. A total of 44 per cent of transport operators indicated they were paying their staff between $21 to $25 per hour in 2020. Now barely 6 per cent are in that range.
“The median hourly wage has moved from around $26 per hour in 2020 to $31 today. The number of drivers being paid between $33 and $40 per hour has more than trebled in under two years.
“Beyond paying drivers what they’re worth, investing in skills and training is critical for the industry to avert a driver shortage. Transporting New Zealand’s traineeship, Road to success, launched in 2021, is giving operators access to NZQA-accredited micro-credentials for their drivers – real qualifications achievable in bite-sized chunks.
“The upskilling and increased professionalism of our workforce is another reason why customers of the industry must pay fair and reasonable freight rates,” says Leggett. “New Zealand needs to have a functioning supply chain and it takes professional truck drivers earning a decent living to complete that task. It’s notable that the proportion of operators who have yet to increase driver pay matches exactly the 20 per cent who report being unable to pass additional fuel costs to customers.
“While there are still real concerns about the driver shortage in parts of the industry, we believe the labour supply situation is more settled now. There are other industries that require migrant labour before ours. Our traineeship allows transport companies to grow and develop their own talent.”