Over the past years, several factors have contributed to a major shortage of drivers in the trucking industry. This means that carriers are motivated to find new workers to compensate for the shortage and to keep their businesses running smoothly. For the job seeker searching for employment in the trucking industry, this translates to higher wages and more incentives to become a driver.
In 2014, the American Trucking Association reported to Business Insider that trucking carriers were short an estimated 30,000 drivers. At that time, over 90 percent of carriers were actively hiring, and the turn-over rate was as much as 92 percent. If you’ve searched the employment classifieds for truck driving jobs lately, you know that the shortage is still a major problem. There are more truck driver jobs listed than almost any other field.
The driver shortage doesn’t stem from one single cause but rather from a whole host of issues that the trucking industry has had to face. In recent economic down times, many carriers did not survive, and independent contractors lost much of their equipment. By the time the economy turned around, many drivers had switched to other careers or decided they enjoyed the time spent at home with their families on a day-to-day basis. In addition, young people are not considering truck driving careers; so, the amount of new applications has declined. This causes a problem as the median age of drivers increases and they begin to change jobs or retire altogether. Another factor contributing to the shortage of drivers are the new hours of service (HOS) laws put in effect in 2013. These laws put limits on the number of hours a driver can work without a break and adequate sleep time. Carriers are forced to hire additional employees to complete the same amount of work.
The advantage of the driver shortage is that, for those who are seeking a career in the trucking industry, wages and work incentives have increased. According to CNN Money, in late 2016 the average truck driver’s pay increased by 7.8 percent from the year before. This is a significant amount that has the potential to go up even more as politicians consider minimum wage laws. The trucking industry is one of the highest paying fields across blue-collar professions. Part of this is because companies understand the skill and licenses that must be achieved to be successful as a driver, and they want to ensure that those they hire will have the incentive to meet the strict safety requirements of the carriers and the department of transportation. The trucking industry needs dedicated, conscientious workers who will become long-term employees, and they are willing to pay competitive wages to find them.
If you are considering a career as a truck driver, the current trends suggest that now is a great time to apply. Although you will need to meet the carrier’s requirements, you may find that the benefits are worth it. By offering competitive wages and other incentives, trucking companies hope to combat the current shortages and keep the industry running smoothly. You can take advantage of this trend by looking into a career as a truck driver today.