Despite our nation’s 8.2 percent unemployment rate, trucking companies across the U.S. are struggling to hire drivers. According to the Truckload Carriers Association, there’s a national shortage of at least 200,000 drivers.
Hiring managers say they are struggling meet quotas, despite increased hiring bonuses larger salaries. Several company owners say the problem has been looming for years, but several contributing factors are compounding the problem.
Besides the obvious problems that plague the industry, such as unique lifestyle commitments and job competition, truck owners say they are also up against high turnover rates, stiff federal regulations and a new mandate that requires companies to publish drivers’ records.
The training required for the job is relatively easy, but it’s far from cheap. The average certification class ranges from $4,000 to $6,000, and while many companies reimburse the drivers once hired, it’s still considered a pretty hefty investment up front.
Costs aside, trucking companies say the biggest obstacle they face is dealing with new regulations from the federal government. In 2010, government officials started requiring all trucking companies to publish the safety records of not only the specific companies, but those of individual drivers, too. Owners say one blemish on a driver’s record can prevent them from re-entering the industry or finding another job.
But despite the obstacles, owners say truck drivers make a pretty decent living. For example, Werner drivers rake in anywhere between $50,000 to $60,000 in the first year. Several more companies have also started offering high signing bonuses in hopes of increasing the number of drivers on the road.