Polish transport companies are increasingly hiring foreigners because of a shortage of drivers. The number of professional driver's licenses issued to citizens of other countries increased by 21% in 2022. The number of driver's licenses issued to Ukrainians increased by almost 23%.
Poland’s Main Road Transport Inspectorate made these data public, the CFTS portal reports.
As of 31 December 2022, 160,664 professional driver's licenses had been issued to foreigners in Poland. Of these, 127,389 (over 79% of the total) were issued to citizens of Ukraine. Citizens of Belarus are the second largest group of foreigners (28,946 or about 18% of the total number of professional driver's licenses issued to foreigners in Poland) and citizens of Moldova are the third largest (2,114 or just over 1%).
The number of professional driver's licenses issued to foreigners in Poland increased by 21% in 2022, compared with 2021. The number of professional driver's licenses issued to citizens of Ukraine increased by almost 23% in 2022, compared with 2021, the number issued to citizens of Belarus by almost 15.7%, and the number issued to citizens of Moldova by almost 12.6%.
Despite employing citizens of other countries to work in its logistics industry, Poland still has a shortage of professional drivers. The Polish Automotive Industry Association estimates this shortage of professional drivers at a minimum of 150,000 (data for the end of 2022). In addition, the average age of professional drivers in the country exceeds 50 years. This means that the shortage of drivers will only increase in the coming years.
The figures stated above only partially reflect reality. The real proportion of foreigners working as drivers in Poland is much higher. Some citizens of Ukraine and other countries are employed without professional driver's licenses. Their employers are primarily transport companies engaging in the transportation of cargo in minibuses with load-carrying capacities of up to 3.5 tons. A professional driver's license is required to drive trucks with load-carrying capacities of over 3.5 tons and road trains.
According to the Polish Road Transport Institute, the average monthly salaries in 2022 were about PLN 7,800 for drivers of trucks (with load-carrying capacities of over 3.5 tons) or road trains and about PLN 5,800 for drivers of cargo minibuses (up to 3.5 tons).