Recruitment Problems Still Plague Carriers
Trucking companies have had a lot of things to keep track of as of late.
In addition to their normal responsibilities of keeping business going and meeting customer demand, there are a whole host of changes regarding technology and regulations.
More advanced trucks are now in development, and new mandates will change trucking forever. However, these factors aren’t the only ones carriers have to keep an eye on. There is still one lingering problem that may become more apparent in the coming years – the driver shortage.
The freight market is recovering from a slump, and enjoying a slow but steady climb upward. Demand and manufacturing activity are increasing, and this means the holiday season will be a bustling time. Normally, for carriers, this is a good thing. But the added demand will not be met if trucking fails to get a hold on its recruitment problems.
It’s estimated that the country needs at least 50,000 new truck drivers, a number that could quadruple within the next five years. In order to handle this issue, many carriers are looking at raising wages. Some are making this move even before they secure increased rates from shippers.
Long-haul truckers can usually be lured from one position to the next with better benefits, but these don’t always pertain to money. Some truckers will leave their current carrier if they’re offered a position with a better work/life balance.
Long-haul drivers are usually able to make these switches so seamlessly due to one factor – their experience. They’re usually older, and have more miles under their belt. However, this also raises another concern. Many of the industry’s most reliable drivers are nearing retirement, setting the stage for an even worse shortage in the coming years.
According to the American Transportation Research Institute, the trucking industry ranks the driver shortage as one of its top problems – something that hasn’t happened in over a decade.
As of now, aspiring truckers could arguably make more in fields like construction, oil and gas handling, and many others. Those who want a future in trucking may be able to find some more lucrative positions now that carriers are taking notice of the problem, but it remains to be seen whether the industry can meet the steep demand of the fourth quarter.