Trucking industry suffering from driver shortage

The trucking industry is suffering from a driver shortage, which has potential to cause disruptions in supply chains nationwide. If the shortage continues, consumers’ desired two-day shipping may be a thing of the past. The trucking industry needs to incentivize employees to get their CDL, be more active on recruiting, and pay more to retain drivers.

Companies are using different motivation techniques to encourage people to get their CDL. Businesses should help pay or fully pay for the classes to get a CDL. They can also have substantial sign on bonuses for new hires. There have been HR studies that correlate benefits packages and turnover intentions with a strong negative relationship. This shows that incentives, such as benefits, are useful tools to attract and retain drivers.

Companies that are facing driver shortages must be more active on recruiting young drivers. According to a recent American Trucking Associations Truck Driver Shortage Analysis, “In 2018, the trucking industry was short roughly 60,800 drivers, which was up nearly 20% from 2017’s figure of 50,700.” A great way to do this would be to visit high schools and colleges, as the minimum age to get a CDL is 18 years old. Many kids leave high school with no idea of what they want to pursue for a career. A recruiter showing big sign on bonuses and companies paying for your CDL would look very appealing to a student with no other career aspirations. Providing students with an alternative to extra schooling takes care of two things at once. First, it allows students who don’t go to college to get a good job. Second, it fulfills the labor shortage for the trucking industry.

In addition to incentives and recruiting young drivers, paying drivers more money is also proven to not only attract, but retain them longer. According to Yahoo Finance, Walmart is paying new hires nearly $90,000. They are also using benefits incentives such as three weeks of paid time off in the first year and quarterly safe driving bonuses. The salary for drivers needs to increase to create more demand for the position.

With COVID-19 increasing demand for online shopping, truck drivers are in high demand to fulfill orders. This shortage impacts everyone who buys something online and in store. Trucking companies must act immediately to mitigate the impact to their supply chains.

Zach Burkle

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