Trucking industry shortage of drivers in 2022
It’s no secret that the trucking industry has suffered immensely during the pandemic. It may take years to recover if it ever does. Truckers have faced many obstacles from dwindling work force numbers, to supply chain issues, and everything in between. Between the US and Canada alone the trucking industry is down roughly 80,000 workers.
With 80,000 open jobs, there is not a light at the end of the tunnel for US and Canada’s supply chain issues. What can we do and how do we go from here? There are major changes that need to be made to the trucking industry and changes to trucking companies’ policies and procedures to drive truck drivers back to their seats.
How did we get here?
Trucking used to be a lucrative business! It wasn’t unheard of that a trucker made over six figures. Over time, the trucking industry has failed to maintain its stellar industry reputation because companies undercut drivers on pay and mileage expenses, and increased driving times among other things.
All of these issues compounded over the pandemic as truckers retired or switched industries in droves thanks to the rise in remote work. Those who remained in the industry were forced to work weeks in a row to deliver packages and materials on time.
As the jobs available in our economy change and truck driving companies fail to make changes, the trucking industry staffing shortage will remain.
How can trucking companies improve?
All hope is not lost! Trucking companies can implement a variety of programs and benefits to recruit and keep truckers, returning the trucking industry to its former glory. We’ve put together a list of three areas that major trucking companies can start working on today to cut the truck driver shortage off at the knees.
Prioritize driver safety and needs
Trucking companies need to prioritize drivers safety by reducing driving times, and increasing protection for truck drivers by providing them access to lawyers or legal advice if they are charged with a traffic violation while driving. As well as increasing benefits paid to drivers.
In addition, trucking companies should prioritize pay. Truckers’ main complaints come from low pay, working 80 hours a week and receiving $35k/year. In addition, many truckers report being cheated out of mileage and other reimbursements guaranteed to them at the outset of their contract.
Implementing these changes will go a long way in recruiting and retaining reliable truck drivers.
Utilize technology in trucking industry
Another great way trucking companies can recruit and retain truck drivers is by upgrading the technology available to drivers. The top technology offerings right now include:
Autonomous or driver assist options
Autonomous truck driving and driver assist options are here. Tesla is leading the charge to change 90 percent of long-haul trucking to autonomous driving. While the logistics and safety mechanisms are still getting worked out, implementing a driver assist option can help truck drivers drive more efficiently and safer.
Electronic logging is a great way to recruit and maintain drivers. Using an electronic logging system will put drivers at ease because their mileage and hours on the road are accurately recorded. This will go a long way in reassuring truck drivers that they are receiving the most pay possible. In fact, electronic logging is now required by federal law.
Collision mitigation tech
Collision mitigation tech is one of the fastest growing industries in the truck driving market. This technology uses various tools such as radar, video and sensors to help drivers monitor the road ahead. These systems alert drivers to any irregularities in the road so drivers can easily avoid them. This takes pressure off the truck drivers and saves the truck driving company millions in lost time and lost product due to a crash.
Implementing routing technology is another huge value add for the trucking industry and truckers themselves. Routing tech will help truck drivers find and drive the most reliable routes. It will save drivers drive time on the road as well as save trucking companies time and money when a driver gets lost.
Increase recruitment efforts towards women, minorities, and those under 21
Next, increasing recruitment efforts towards “non-traditional” truck drivers will go a long way in solving the truck driving shortage. Women and minorities are overlooked groups in the trucking industry. Reaching out to these groups could yield great results for truck driving companies.
Finally, dropping the age required to drive from 21 to 18 will open up an entirely new demographic that has never been able to drive trucks before. Invigorating the trucking driving industry with younger drivers will go a long way in solving the shortage because the shortage is due in part to the aging, older demographic that currently dominates the truck industry.
If the trucking industry dedicates itself to safety, higher pay, and a more diverse truck driver workforce, then the truck driver shortage will no longer be an issue or a news story. Change is needed to overcome the shortage. Current truck drivers will continue to retire due to age or change industries because of low pay and high hours.