By 2020, e-commerce will continue to flourish. More countries will open their doors to foreign goods. The demand for same-day delivery and quick shipping will be stronger. The question is, where are the truck drivers?
If you’re a logistics company or a trucking business, you can get labor support from temporary driver staffing agencies. It’s still essential, though, to understand what’s happening in the market.
Does the United States Have Driver Shortage?
Different reports and statistics show the answer to this question is yes. The data from the American Trucking Associations (ATA) revealed that in 2018 the deficit increased by nearly 50,000 compared to the previous year.
As the world welcomes a new decade, the number of unfilled driver positions could reach 160,000. That’s thrice the shortage the country is experiencing now. What could have caused this? It’s a combination of many factors:
1. Age – The average age of a truck driver is 55 years old. That’s way older than the average age of a US worker, which is 42.3 years old.
It also means many drivers are already close to their retirement. In fact, in some companies, people at this age would have already been encouraged to retire.
2. Demographics – The majority of truck drivers are males. Less than 10% of them are women. But a report by the National Partnership for Women and Families shared that 75.7% of females between 24 and 54 years old are actively looking for a job.
3. Low Pay – To be fair, some drivers can already earn more than $50,000 a year. Many companies these days are also offering more incentives to attract workers.
Still, the average wage for this job is $40,000, according to the Labor Department. The median salary in the country is $56,000. On the road, truck drivers might end up working over 50 hours a week. They also spend more time on the road than with their families. Truck driving indeed is one of the most stressful jobs.
The Other Side of the Coin
With all the data above, one can conclude that there is indeed a driver shortage problem in the United States. A report published in Forbes, though, tends to disagree.
In the article, writer Steve Banker argues that it might not be technically shortage but rather a high turnover rate. This is according to the information he gleaned from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS).
For the BLS, the demand is high, but the supply of workers is low. This creates intense competition among truck companies. They, though, fail to differentiate their prices, and this can force truck drivers to leave the business.
Whether there’s driver shortage or not, one thing is clear: the country needs more truck drivers. Otherwise, it will negatively impact its recovering economy.
Companies can start exploring different ways to augment their labor force, including hiring temporary staff or seasonal workers. They can also open their doors to women. All these will allow them to meet the needs of their clients while still having more control over their finances.