Will 2017 See an Age Shift in the Trucker Workforce?
Truck driving is a job that has changed a lot over time. And while some think that the most pressing issue related to truck driving jobs and recruiting is the impending entry of more autonomous vehicles to the market, another reoccurring issue still outranks it.
Truck driving jobs have changed in many ways throughout the years, with certain changes being viewed as negative by many within the field of transportation. This viewpoint is reflected in the fact that carriers are still relying heavily on an experienced workforce. While this may not seem like an issue on the surface, it presents a problem – there aren’t enough younger drivers gaining experience to replace them.
Trucking continues to rely on veteran in the industry, as evidenced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ numbers on the median age of truck drivers in the US. Given that the average age of a driver is 55, it is easy to see that there aren’t an overwhelming amount of newcomers looking to pick up the slack when these veteran drivers do retire.
Carriers have attempted to address hiring issues in the past through multiple methods. But demand is predicted to increase throughout 2017 at a slow but steady rate. So for many carriers, 2017 could be the year when they must pursue an age shift in their fleet.
Recruiting and retaining new young talent can be a difficult task, but carriers with a large number of veteran drivers on their fleet do have some interesting options. One of these is a trucking apprenticeship program. Industry veterans work with new drivers in these types of instances, allowing them to get first-hand experience and supervised road training.
The practical advantage of these kinds of positions is that they allow newcomers to the industry to start making money right away. They also remove the great deal of the liability associated with putting a new driver on the road unsupervised.