Truck Driver Shortage: Filling the High Demand

The need for truck drivers is still high.  A steady economy, lower fuel prices, and the public’s love for online shopping has kept drivers busy year around.  The demand is through the roof, so why is there a truck driver shortage?  It is not only for one reason alone.


The Problems

Being a truck driver is not what it used to be.  Pay rates have not increased along with this increasing demand, particularly for long haul drivers.  DOT age restrictions are making the industry less attractive to younger generations.  29.3% of truck drivers are in the 45-54 age range.  The 25-34 age crowd only make up 15.6% of the truck driver work force.  The younger generations are opting for jobs that are not as heavily regulated or physically demanding.  In fact, the average truck driver age is 46.5 while the average age of the entire United States workforce is only 42.4.  The need for truck drivers has not decreased, therefore making the industry more attractive to younger generations is key to keeping it alive.  Norita Taylor of Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association says the solution is to “pay more.”

What about the younger generations that do enter the truck driver work force?  Unfortunately, many end up dropping out of the industry just a mere 6 months into the job.  In fact, voluntary turnover for truck drivers climbed to 102% in the fourth quarter of 2015.  This high turnover has increased the amount of job ads being posted by companies.  Hundreds of thousands of jobs were posted with the words “driver” or “cdl” or “delivery” in them on in April alone.  The problem remains the same.  Many carriers are not raising wages.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average pay for a tractor-trailer truck driver is $19.36.  Over the past couple decades driver pay has declined relative to the compensation of similar workers in the workforce.  However, carriers had reason to limit their labor costs.  It has only been in recent years when fuel costs have started to decrease.  During the past 14 years fuel prices saw a huge increase, as high as $4.54 a gallon in 2008.


The Solutions

Some carriers have already increased their wages, as well as staffing agencies who supply drivers.  However, long haul drivers who are paid by the mile, are essentially not paid when they are stopped.  An hourly wage is a possible solution to this problem.  This could be a logical step since carriers who pay by the hour see a lower turnover rate than their by-the-mile counterparts.  If an hourly wage is out of the question, guaranteeing drivers a set amount of miles per week will help their drivers make a steadier and more predictable income.  Another option to attract younger generations is to offer signing bonuses.  Higher wages have multiple benefits for workers and carriers alike.  Improved safety is a huge benefit.  Higher wages have a direct link to a decrease in crashes and turnover.

New marketing techniques can also help with driver shortages.  Many companies turn to social media to attract new drivers.  As well, setting up career websites and hosting virtual career fairs help gear the industry towards younger generations.



The up and down economy, the spike in fuel prices, and the industry’s unattractiveness to younger generations have caused truck driver shortages.  The average truck driver is nearing retirement age and there is not a large enough workforce of the younger generations to replace them.  The need for truck drivers has not decreased and the public’s love of online shopping is not going anywhere anytime soon.

Here at Spec on the Job, we help to bridge this shortage gap.  We help find the best drivers for the job and use a variety of marketing techniques.  We build relationships not only with our drivers, but also our clients to the benefit of both.  The more carriers try new solutions to the truck driver shortages, the demand for drivers will soon be filled!



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