Germany is looking for thousands of drivers. See what wages they pay

Germany is looking for thousands of drivers. See what wages they pay
Germany is looking for thousands of drivers. See what wages they pay

Germany is experiencing an acute shortage of public transport drivers. In 2022, nearly half of the transport companies in the country have temporarily limited their activities due to a lack of bus and tram drivers, the world agencies report.

By 2030, the number of vacant jobs for bus drivers in the country alone will be close to 87,000, according to data from the Union of German Public Transport Companies VDV, cited by ARD.

The shortfall is currently around 8,000

The transport companies surveyed believe that by 2030 they will need to increase the number of their employees by around 20% in order to be able to maintain and expand bus and rail services. And VDV predicts even more serious growth in the need for new jobs in the sector. For 48% of the companies in the industry, filling the vacant positions for drivers is currently the biggest challenge, followed by the lack of personnel for commercial and technical positions in the companies.

What salaries do bus drivers get?

According to the public sector career information portal, the average salary of bus drivers in Germany is 3,039 euros gross per month.

However, about 25% of drivers receive less – an average of 2,708 euros

And another 25% more – an average of 3368 euros per month. The data is taken from the wage atlas of the German Employment Agency, the portal states. However, the salary level can differ greatly depending on where the driver is employed – whether in the field of urban transport or in the tourism sector. There are also differences in pay in individual federal provinces, and sometimes even in individual cities within a province.

Schilling Gruppe, which provides public transport in the Cologne city region, says on its website that it pays bus drivers an average of between €15.35 and €17.28 gross per hour. And that makes an average of about 2,600 gross to 3,000 gross per month.

Extra hours, as well as work on weekends and holidays or night shifts are paid extra. Added to this are Christmas allowances and other bonuses.

How do you become a bus driver?

To become a bus driver in Germany, you must be at least 24 years old and have gone through special training with a strong practical focus, which lasts three years and ends with an exam – the so-called. Ausbildung zum Berufskraftfahrer Anyone who has already completed another vocational training can retrain as a public transport driver. Retraining usually takes less time.

However, for this purpose, the applicant must have a category D driver’s license (for the transport of more than 25 people). A driving license for this category usually costs around €5,000, but people who go through vocational training usually do not need to pay for the course as the costs are covered by the company they are training for.

Many private companies also provide the opportunity for faster training. The company Schilling Gruppe, for example, states on its website that it trains bus drivers within 3 to 6 months. The requirements are that the applicant has a category B driver’s license and is at least 21 years old.

There are currently numerous collective bargaining negotiations in the sector on which future rates will depend. The Rail and Transport Union (EVG), for example, is demanding an increase of at least €650 a month for salaried employees. The union is also demanding structural changes in the pay system.

Public transport strikes took place in a number of German cities last week. Buses, trams and subway lines did not run for 24 hours. In some places – and for longer.

German associations of transport companies recently asked their members for more detailed information on the shortage of skilled workers. But even if thousands of applicants immediately apply for driver vacancies, the problem of lack of staff cannot be solved quickly. An example from Dortmund answers the question why.

From the first day a new bus driver candidate without the relevant driver’s license is officially accepted into the system to the day he starts transporting passengers, about 8 months pass, says Harald Kraus of the Association of German Transport Companies.

And despite the problems they are experiencing with staff shortages, only 13.8% of German transport companies are looking for new recruits from abroad.


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