How The Trucking Industry Is Combatting The Driver Shortage
Trucking companies everywhere are experiencing high turnover rates and a driver shortage. Most companies are recognizing this and understand that there is a need for a change across the industry.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a serious impact on the industry because of manufacturing shutdowns and stay home orders. Many older drivers also retired completely kicking off the start of the shortage.
The American Trucking Associations estimates that the shortage of drivers, which was around 78,000 in 2022, will likely double by 2031. It also says that the industry will need to recruit around 1.2 million drivers to replace the retirees.
One of the biggest barriers to hiring new drivers is the cost of training, which can be up to $7,000. There are scholarships available to people looking to get their CDL, however not enough to cover the 1.2 million needed to replace all the retirees by 2031.
So, now what? Many companies have begun recognizing these problems and how they affect the future of the trucking industry. Some companies have even tried improving to their pay rates and the packages they offer drivers.
Increased Mileage Rate. Some companies offer higher mileage rates and bonuses to encourage people to sign up as a driver. Unfortunately, it's a good start but many drivers don't feel its enough.
Recruiting Other Groups. Some companies have widened their recruiting audience to find potential drivers by marketing to women, ex-military personnel and even foreign workers. Many companies also lowered their age limit, allowing companies to recruit people 18-years and older.
Longer trailers. Some companies are investing in longer trailers so they can move more freight per trip and in fewer trips.This is a great practice in theory, however it means that the driver is now taking more risks as longer trailers are harder to control.
What will solve the shortage of truck drivers?
Offer fair wages and benefits. Affordable health insurance, a pension plan along with other benefits and incentives will attract old and new drivers. The pay and benefits must outweigh the risk otherwise companies will have a hard time recruiting and retaining drivers.
Make the job more appealing. Offer better training and growth programs to draw in more drivers. Have a good work environment, with a good team across the board.
Increasing freight rates. This is more for the company than the driver but by increasing freight rates, the additional income can pay for the increase truck driver pay.
Flexibility. Many people don't want to become truck drivers because of the many days spent away from home. Maybe consider offering shorter routes to allow people to spend more time with their families.
Whether the public identifies it or not, our country would not run without trucking. The trucking industry has a role in almost every single aspect of our economy. Agriculture, manufacturing, construction, you name it and transportation has a role in it. Which is why it is so important that companies figure out how to combat the shortage.
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