The trucking industry is struggling with an issue that affects the entire economy – truck driver shortage. The reason that the truck driver shortage has such a significant impact is that almost 70% of freight is transported through U.S. highways. Accordingly, the trucking industry needs those hardworking people who hit the road on a daily basis – truck drivers. So, if the industry needs them, what’s the reason for the truck driver shortage?
The lifestyle of a trucker is one of the topics to address when discussing the reasons behind the trucker shortage. When starting a career in a trucking business, people expect the job to be smooth, high-paid, and stressless. But like any other job, truck driving also has challenging aspects. Despite the high salary, truck driving requires patience and flexibility.
A truck driver should be patient with the intermediary processes of loading and unloading the freight. Sometimes these processes may take up longer than expected. Also, while hitting the road, a trucker may get into a traffic jam and reach the final point of the route later than expected. However, here, a trucker gains the opportunity of taking a break and enjoying a lunch or a snack while slowly progressing on the road. Luckily though, drivers have dispatchers who can reroute them through a traffic jam and get them to their destination faster. A trucker should be ready to accommodate the new route.
Usually, truckers, who are already familiar with the routes, know where they can stop and have a rest. This means that they are already accustomed to those usual routes. However, dispatchers may reroute truck drivers for various reasons, including traffic jams. Accordingly, truck drivers should be ready to accommodate the new route and maybe miss the long-awaited truck stop.
Also, truck drivers should expect to have sleepless nights when an emergency arises. The trucking company may request to deliver the freight as quickly as possible, which may require driving at night. Of course, such an urgent request may deteriorate work-life balance as the trucker will be away from family. However, truckers will receive compensation for being dedicated employees, depending on the trucking company. For instance, the best trucking company, AJR Trucking, signifies employee appraisal practices and always aims at showing employees respect and gratitude.
The trucking industry has regulations that may produce a trucker shortage. Some of the regulations regard the demographics of truck drivers. Sometimes, people who are eager to pursue a trucker’s career are incapable of doing so because of age and gender.
The trucking industry has regulations that cannot be violated. To begin a career as a trucker with an Interstate Commercial Driver License, people should be at the age of 21+. This results from the law stating that people must be 21 years old to get a license. Accordingly, trucking companies are aligned towards employing people who are at or above 21 years old holding an Interstate Commercial Driver License. However, such a regulation is an obstacle in the trucking industry. People usually graduate from college at the age of 18. Accordingly, they have a 3-year gap before being eligible to apply for a trucker’s job. The 3-year gap is big enough to find an alternative position with a high salary and forget about the possibility of becoming a trucker.
Moreover, the average trucker in the US is 55 years old. Most trucking companies employ truckers who are 45 years old with an experience of at least 10 years. Such individuals usually retire after 15-20 years, increasing the employee turnover rate in the trucking industry.
Statistics show that male truck drivers dominate the industry. According to the trucking industry statistics, women account for 47% of the US trucking industry workforce, out of which only 6% are commercial truckers. There is no restriction or regulation regarding women’s employment in trucking companies; however, the stereotype that being a trucker is a macho job still dominates the industry. Nevertheless, let’s not forget that not every trucking company follows the stereotype. AJR Trucking, the best trucking company to work for, welcomes women to apply for the job. The company states that female truck drivers are needed, not just wanted, in the industry. Apply for jobs in the trucking industry now!
Even though trucker lifestyle, age, and gender may contribute to an increase in truck driver shortage, there are ways to overcome that issue.
- Lowering eligible driving age.
If the industry lowers the allowed driving age to the 18-year-old group, a significant number of young people will apply for jobs in the trucking industry. So, trucking companies will gain the competitive advantage of retaining employees and decreasing employee turnover.
2. Raising awareness for female truck drivers.
Trucking companies like AJR Trucking already do this. If the majority joins the trend of raising awareness for female truck drivers, the trucking industry will bloom.
3. Optimizing routes.
Trucking companies should show drivers that truckers’ lifestyle is not so challenging. Even though flexibility and patience are qualities that a trucker should have, companies still need to make the working routine for truckers easier. One of the best things that trucking companies may implement is optimizing routes. By integrating modern technology into the trucking company to identify the best routes beforehand, truck drivers will know exactly what routes they will take, where they will stop, etc. Doing so will add consistency to truckers’ lifestyles – a considerable benefit.