The Ageing Workforce in Singapore Challenge: How Fleet Systems Help with Driver Shortage

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As Singapore's workforce ages and the influx of new workers is distributed to other industries, the percentage of agile drivers in the workforce is alarmingly low. What does this mean for the transportation and logistics industry in Singapore?

Let’s dive in and find out the state of the working class and whether there’s a bright future for Singapore’s fleet-based industries.

In this article, you will:

  • Learn about Singapore's ageing workforce and its impact on driver shortages
  • Understand the challenges of attracting and recruiting young drivers
  • Discover proactive solutions adopted by businesses and the government
  • Understand how fleet management software can support multi-generational fleets
  • Explore Cartrack's solutions for optimising fleet and supporting ageing drivers

The demographic shift in Singapore’s workforce

Singapore is known for its quality living conditions, with citizens living well into their 80s. In fact, the average life expectancy in Singapore is estimated to be 84.19 years. This results in the number of retirees rising while the pool of young, available workers is slowly shrinking.

Further research shows that in 2022, the percentage of people aged 55 and older in Singapore was 27%. For comparison, this percentage was 19% in 2012, only ten years before. What’s more, 2019 statistics of Singapore taxi drivers show that about 34% of Taxi Driver's Vocational Licence (TDVL) holders are 60 years or older, putting this particular breed of fleet drivers squarely in the ageing bracket. 

This is an alarmingly clear indication of how fast the population is ageing.

Problems started when many Singaporean workers reached retirement age and started leaving the workforce. This age imbalance has created an issue for many industries that require manual labour to thrive, like the transportation and construction industries. 

Generally, people wait until they are financially stable before having children, but many Singaporeans do not take the leap into parenthood, and before they know it, they are of retirement age. This results in the workforce not being replenished after elderly workers retire, leading to an inevitable crisis due to the employment rate not keeping up with retirement rates.

The reason for the low birth rate seems to stem from the economic, social and cultural issues that affect Singaporeans, such as:

  • High cost of living
  • Women prioritising their careers
  • A changing mindset over marriage and parenthood
  • Housing availability

Job hiring trends across different industries

With millions of citizens in the workforce, most gravitate towards service-sector jobs such as finance, IT, healthcare and entertainment. Where does that put the transportation industry? 

Many businesses have mentioned hardships in recruiting young people to fill their fleets as they compete with high retirement rates, the cost of training new drivers, and a lack of interest in transportation and logistics, among other factors.

According to Statista, Singaporeans aged 15 and above choose to work in the service sector, making it the sector with the most employees, estimated to be over two million. As further evidence, The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has shared a report on which sector is hiring the most labour in 2023, and information and communications take the lead with 72.8% of vacancies, with transportation only holding the 8th place with an estimated 50%.

Job hiring trends across different industries

The effects of Singapore's ageing workforce on the transportation and logistics industry

Unlike other industries, where you can simply outsource and have someone from another country do the work, the same can't be done when it comes to service delivery, transportation and freight industries that need in-person physical work.

What all these industries have in common when it comes to their workforce is they all face the challenge of driver shortage and need help with retention. Factors contributing to these challenges include a high turnover rate, better job opportunities elsewhere, and the demanding nature of labour in these industries.

This influenced the government and businesses to take action and start looking elsewhere to bridge the gap in their labour sourcing by reaching out to retirees, foreign workers, women who have left work to care for their families, or even looking towards automating businesses, paving the way for technology.

The Singapore government has also adopted a proactive solution by updating the retirement and reemployment age in the country to 63 and 68, respectively; this age range is estimated to increase again in 2030 to 65 and 70 years. As this will greatly impact the workforce and give businesses a bit more time with their elderly workers, it still presents the question of how businesses (especially in transport and logistics) will handle managing older workers.

Here are a few methods for a positive shift in Singaporean businesses.

  1. Inclusivity in the workplace

    Singapore and other countries facing an increased elderly population like the Netherlands have started implementing anti-discrimination policies like the Workplace Fairness Legislation (WFL) to eliminate any bias held by companies regarding hiring older workers.

    This policy was created to promote inclusivity in the workplace and ensure mature workers are treated fairly among colleagues. Conquering stereotypes encourages mature workers to work efficiently and strive for improvement, even swaying them to work longer for their companies and not retire prematurely.
  2. Equipping the workforce with newer skills

    Singapore, Japan, and the Netherlands have started encouraging their older workers to gain additional skills that enhance employability by using available career guidance programmes and job training. These programmes also shed light on the value of upskilling and equipping mature workers to work successfully for longer if they wish and not to be held back by a lack of knowledge, new technologies, or emerging methods.
  3. Offer incentives and bonuses to attract younger truck drivers

    So how does the fleet industry compete with other industries that also have their eyes on young, skilled, willing workers? Through incentives and benefits. If there’s a chance to reel in younger truck drivers to join a fleet, some businesses are open to offering higher salaries than the usual market-related offerings.

    However, most positions in fleets lack the space for career growth, and constantly increasing salaries or bonuses can have long-term financial consequences for the business. This is where fleet management solutions are used to provide more realistic benefits to make the working environment more accommodating for drivers both young and experienced.

How fleet management software can assist in handling a multi-generational fleet

With this large age gap within Singaporean fleets, the door to modifying existing techniques and methods to accommodate the older workforce is wide open. Businesses are using fleet management software to optimise operations and cater to the needs of both generations.

Here are some key ways fleet management software can support Singapore’s multi-generational fleets:

  • Driver safety with vehicle tracking and monitoring

    To uphold driver safety and meet the general health needs of older drivers, businesses are using FMS for real-time vehicle tracking and monitoring to actively manage driver behaviour in their fleet. Features like risk reports and driver scorecards are used to pinpoint further problematic issues such as speeding, harsh cornering, and braking and provide helpful feedback for improvement thereafter.

    It’s been reported that businesses are striving for more worker-oriented work environments for the multi-generational workforce with slip-proof flooring, adjustable seating and work surfaces, better illumination, and screens with less glare. Improving safety on and off the road.
  • Managing truck drivers' working hours

    Fleet systems can monitor driver working hours by tracking vehicle usage and equipment along with engine activity reports. This can be used to monitor working hours and ensure compliance with set working limits or mature drivers. It can also prevent safety/ health issues, such as frequent fatigue or distraction.

    The General Insurance Association (GIA) has previously suggested that elderly workers should be given greater flexibility in their work arrangements, such as their schedules, conditions, and tasks, resulting in flexible working hours or task allocation suitable for drivers of different ages.
  • Keep up with fleet admin

    FMS automates administration work such as providing maintenance alerts to keep you on schedule with the fleet servicing, engine diagnostics for quick response to vehicle health problems and reports on every event in your fleet, such as fuel consumption, vehicle, etc., for quick access to vital information. This streamlines the fleet management process, reduces manual work and ensures fleet compliance efforts.
  • Provide an easy-to-use fleet interface

    FMS platforms are user-friendly and easily customisable, allowing businesses to put the most used or important features, such as communications tools, route optimisation, or task planners, front and centre. This not only makes managing a fleet more accessible but also benefits the drivers by having a simple, easy-to-understand platform to interact with.
  • Swift training assistance

    To uphold self-improvement in the fleet, offer elderly drivers the same opportunities to upskill and improve their knowledge as the rest of the fleet. FMS offers tools such as dash cameras and driver behaviour monitoring to provide insights into performance. This can be used in training and to further improve skills.

How fleet management software can assist in handling a multi-generational fleet

Don’t let fleet ageing concerns get you down, too. Here’s how Cartrack makes vehicle longevity effortless

Cartrack is the leading global provider of telematics and fleet management solutions. They specialise in delivering optimised fleet operations, enhanced driver safety, and improved driver management through our fleet solutions tailored to every fleet, even multigenerational ones, optimising and increasing the lifespan of every vehicle in your fleet.

Here is what Cartrack has to offer:

Real-time vehicle tracking: Through installed GPS vehicle tracking devices, managers can actively track the location of their vehicles, monitor their usage and manage their drivers for real-time updates on their assets and task progression, as well as for quick response to any issues that may occur.

Safety alerts: Cartrack offers real-time vehicle alerts for idling, speeding, cornering and other risky driving behaviours detected to maintain safety within the fleet. For additional measures, use Driver Scorecards to see drivers' safety ratings while on the road and use insights for training material. 

Automated maintenance reminders: Never be late for servicing your vehicle again. Receive automated maintenance notifications of tyre rotations, oil changes, battery charge and more based on vehicle use, mileage and time intervals. 

Task management and dispatching with Cartrack Delivery: Optimise delivery operations and streamline task management with Cartrack Delivery. Easily assign tasks, see task progression, communicate with drivers and track transported cargo in real-time. Ensuring efficient and on-time delivery, upholding customer expectations.

Preventative maintenance with Driver App: Cartrack offers a new vehicle maintenance feature named Cartrack Driver App, that encourages drivers to do pre-trip inspections and preventative maintenance checks on their vehicles to detect any issues early on before they become costly to repair/replace.

Empower your ageing workforce with Cartrack

Ready to use modern technology to optimise your fleet in the face of an ageing workforce and truck driver shortage? Contact Cartrack today and see how our fleet management solutions can positively affect your business.

Don't let your fleet surrender to driver shortage due to the ageing workforce in Singapore. Explore what FMS and Cartrack can do for your business.