Fight the Labor Shortage: How to Attract New Truck Drivers
Like many other American industries, trucking is experiencing a worker shortage. In fact, the American Trucking Associations estimates that the truck driver shortage reached just over 80,000 in 2021. So, if you own a trucking company, this issue could spell disaster for future business. Fortunately, there are ways to attract new truck drivers.
But first, let’s look at why the shortage occurred in the first place.
Why is the shortage happening?
A few factors have contributed to the decrease in the truck driving workforce. First, of course, in the past, wages haven’t kept up with inflation and minimum wage increases. So, fewer people find trucking a viable career.
Plus, young drivers can’t legally obtain commercial drivers’ licenses until they turn 21, after many people have already committed to other fields. So, as more and more older drivers retire, fewer younger workers take their places.
And many find the trucking lifestyle difficult. The growing economy has increased the need for truck drivers and strained the current workforce. These drivers already work long hours away from home, so the additional pressure makes it even more difficult for companies to attract new truck drivers.
What can trucking companies do about it?
If you oversee a fleet, don’t panic. You can probably retain more drivers by making simple changes to the way your business operates.
This is perhaps the most obvious way to attract new truck drivers. Simply increase salaries or offer bonuses to those who stay with the company for set amounts of time. You could even change the way you pay. For example, new tracking technology now makes it easier to pay truck drivers by the hour.
You could also implement flexible pay models that switch between per mile and per hour compensation, depending on road and traffic conditions. For example, you could start paying a driver by mile, and if they get stuck in traffic (which would decrease their earnings), your tracking technology would take note and switch automatically to an hourly rate. This way, your drivers always receive fair pay.
(Note: Increased wages and bonuses could affect your company’s liability or workers’ compensation rates. Call your insurance agent to discuss your adjusted premiums.)
This goes hand-in-hand with wage hikes. Drivers not only want solid salaries, but they also want competitive benefits packages. Consider offering…
- Paid time off
- 401(k) investment matching
- Comprehensive medical coverage
- Rewards programs
- Updated technology that makes the job easier
These perks will help attract new truck drivers and prove to your current employees how much you respect their hard work. No one wants to stay in a job where they feel unappreciated.
Make life easier on the road.
Trucking can be hard, so do what you can to ease the burden. For example, offer flexible schedules so your drivers have the option to work closer to home. Or use updated technology and management procedures to reduce haul lengths so employees can maintain healthier work/life balances. And offer training programs to help prospective drivers receive their commercial driver’s licenses more easily.
According to experts, the driver shortage will only worsen in the coming years. So, as a fleet manager, do whatever you can to grow your workforce—offer more money and better benefits, ease the burden of long hauls, and, most importantly, make sure your drivers feel respected.
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