Trucking Industry Shortage
The Private and Commercial Trucking industries are losing business for lack of qualified truck drivers.
Transportation executives state that the critical shortage of commercial truck drivers in the US is impeding industry growth.
Truck Drivers Needed today!
As demand for shipping has increased dramatically over the past decade, companies are looking to hire more qualified truck drivers. But finding the needed drivers is tough and companies often have to turn away business as a result. While there have been commercial truck drivers shortages in the US for the past two decades, industry experts say, an improving economy and increasing shipper demand is now out pacing driver capacity to critical levels.
While the trucking industry currently employs just over 3 million commercial truck drivers, it is estimated that the industry is still 160,000 to 200,000 drivers short of what it needs to meet demand nationwide. The shortage is most prevalent in the long haul sector of the transportation industry, in which freight is hauled long distances and where drivers may be away from home for six to eight weeks. Driver pay, lifestyle and time away from home are believed to be the biggest reasons for the shortage. The shortage is less of a problem among local and regional haulers, where freight is shipped shorter distances and the drivers are more often home at night. However, even local and regional carriers are feeling the pinch, as there are simply not enough commercial truck drivers to go around.
Other Driver Recruitment Factors
In addition to the difficulties caused by the commercial truck driver shortage itself, federal Department Of Transportation regulations also restrict the driver hiring practices of trucking companies as well as how many hours these companies can allow their drivers to work. The federal interstate trucking hours-of-service rules were first modified in January 2005 and prevent commercial truck drivers from driving in excess of 11 hours during a maximum 14-hour shift. Since 2005 these regulations have been further tightened.
Insurance also affects commercial truck driver recruitment. Many company’s insurance policies restrict commercial truck driver hiring practices to varying degrees. For example, many insurance carriers require client carriers to hire only drivers that are 23 years or older and have at least two years’ experience. Such policies mean that the pickings for commercial truck drivers are that much slimmer.
Of additional concern is the turnover rate within the transportation industry. Driver turnover among the large truckload carriers averages 116% to 120%. Small truckload carriers report turnover in the 94% range, while LTL carriers are experiencing turnover of more than 20% according to the ATA. As a result most companies look within the industry and rely on the driver turnover of other companies to provide a flow of qualified drivers.
At the same time these companies work to keep their own turnover as low as possible. Experienced commercial truck drivers are benefiting from this buyer’s market as it gives them the luxury to comparison shop. Many commercial truck drivers sample several companies per year looking for a better deal. They know that companies are competing for their talent and they can leave their job for greener pastures and return without being penalized if the new job does not represent the opportunity that they expected.
Trucking companies are competing for drivers
Trucking companies are recruiting from a shrinking pool of commercial truck drivers. A truly qualified driver is becoming increasingly difficult to find. To combat the shortage, many companies are looking for ways to gain an advantage over other carries that are competing for the same few commercial truck drivers. These companies are inundating commercial truck drivers with hiring advertisements promising such perks as more home time, flexible schedules, bonuses, health care benefits and better pay.