The trucking industry has been hit hard by a shortage of available labor. According to the American Trucking Association, trucking companies nationwide are about 60,000 drivers short of meeting the requirements that today's shipping industry needs. This shortage could grow to 160,000 in 2028 if steps are not taken to rectify the situation. But why is there a shortage, and what are some common reasons companies struggle to meet hiring quotas?
1) Its a tough job
Truck driving can pay surprisingly well, but even this is not enough to entice newcomers to the occupation. Spending large amounts of time on the road, truck drivers are pressured to meet impossible schedule targets and to exceed driving times that are safe, contributing to an increase in accidents. Without proper changes being made to accommodate the difficulty of the job on the part of companies, few people want to jump into trucking as a career.
2) A lot of time is spent away from home
Of course, this excess amount of time truckers have to spend on the road prevents them from seeing their families or socializing with friends. Trucking can be an exhausting experience, and even those that end their routes close to home will often feel too exhausted to spend meaningful time with their loved ones. Further, the sedentary lifestyle can lead to health problems, such as obesity as a result of weight gain and heart problems.
3) The barriers to entry are high
Unlike most blue-collar jobs, trucking is not something that high school students can simply jump into after graduating. Instead, they will need a Commercial Driver's License to be a truck driver. A CDL requires training and classes to be taken and can only be obtained by people 21 years of age or older. This prevents a large number of new entrants to the job market from exploring the industry for up to three years. Apprenticeship programs or similar measures can be implemented by companies to encourage new graduates to consider trucking even if they can't immediately jump into it.
4) Retirement and turnover
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, commercial truck drivers' average age is 55 years old. In less than a decade, many of these workers will be retiring, and still others are quitting early to find employment in less-intensive areas of work. The high average age of truckers means that the industry is routinely hemmoraghing talent, even before general turnover is taken into account, and there are not nearly enough new entrants into the industry to make up for this fast rate of loss. Thus, appealing to younger members of the labor force, as well as women, is needed to fill this gap in talent.
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