Truck Drivers Wanted
By George Anderson
A study conducted for the American Trucking Associations (ATA) by the research firm Global Insight said there was a national shortage of truck drivers, particularly long-haul
heavy-duty drivers, that “has become a limiting factor in the operations of many companies” and that demographic trends suggest the problem will become more severe in the next
According to the study, The U.S. Truck Driver Shortage: Analysis and Forecast, there is currently a national shortage of long-haul drivers estimated to be approximately
20,000. This number, says the report, could rise to 111,000 by 2014.
Numbers alone, say the study authors, do not tell the full story. The study says the industry continues to reject a high percentage of potential drivers because they lack the
qualifications for the job. Lowering standards for jobs is not the answer, as any initial savings in compensation will be more than offset by the cost of higher insurance premiums
and vehicular accidents.
Companies are also hurt by the high turnover or “churn” rate. The ATA reports that large carriers reported 121 percent turnover rate last year.
To attract more people into the long-haul driver market, wages will continue to go up. The report expects wages to increase an average of six or seven percent over the next three
Higher wages are not the sole answer, according to the report. Companies need to address quality of life issues as well. While some hardships simply come with the territory of
the job, the most frequent complaints of unhappy long-haul drivers are “extended periods on the road away from home and unpredictable schedules for getting home.” The report recommends
that companies weigh “the high cost of employer turnover” against any “marginal loss in productivity” resulting from reworking schedules to get drivers home more frequently.
Moderator’s Comment: How big an issue is the driver shortage for the retailing and related industries? What is the
impact of the driver shortage? –
George Anderson – Moderator
- Trucking Industry has Current Shortage of 20,000 Drivers may Jump
to 111,000 by 2014 – American Trucking Associations News Release