Why is There a Truck Driver Shortage?

There are a lot of reasons for the driver shortage. Some of it is generational and much of it has to do with unfavorable working conditions for drivers. In this post, we’ll discuss why the driver shortage is happening and what trucking companies can do about it.

3 Major Causes Of The Shortage

1. High Driver Turnover 

With a 92% driver turnover rate for large truckload carriers, trucking continues to see excessive shifts of drivers from company to company and from trucking to other industries. High turnover rates are caused by many underlying issues like low pay, poor work-life balance, inaccurate information and a lack of communication. These issues can be resolved if companies take the appropriate steps to do so, but without this, driver turnover rates continue to soar, leading to the current driver shortage.

2. Truck Driver Lifestyle

Being away from home for too many days and spending long, drawn-out hours on the road is characteristic of the truck driver lifestyle. Adapting to excessively long routes and few breaks leads to a very difficult life on the road. This prevents new, potential drivers from entering the industry, and causes many to leave.

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3. Demographics Issues

One of the major factors contributing to the current truck driver shortage is related to age and gender. The majority of truck drivers are over 45-year old males, which is one of the generational issues at work in the trucking industry. The age to obtain a CDL license is 21 years old, but not many in the younger generation opt for a career in trucking due to unfavorable and unattractive working conditions. 

4 Actionable Steps To Help Solve The Shortage

  1. Increase Driver Pay: It’s true that it’s not “all about the money”, and there are many other issues that affect drivers, both preventing potential drivers from entering the industry and forcing your current drivers to seek employment elsewhere. However, increasing your driver’s wages and implementing a fairer pay scale remains one of the steps you can take as a company to address the shortage.
  2. Communicate To Find Out What Your Drivers Need: There’s so much that communication with your drivers can produce. From quickly resolving prevalent issues to building loyalty, taking the time and effort to establish open feedback channels can reap great results.
  3. Target Other Demographics In Recruiting Efforts: Shifting the focus of recruiting efforts to the younger generation is a wise choice for every trucking company to make. It will give you a headstart on understanding the new group of people who would potentially make up the future generation of truckers and shape your company culture and benefits packages to appeal to them.
  4. Invest In A Retention Program: Investing to keep your current employees is an important step to address the shortage, but the benefits of a retention program don’t stop there. Knowing what your current employees need and making changes based on them will attract new drivers, as your current drivers are bound to refer others. 

Let a feedback program become a communication bridge for your company’s efforts to understand why the truck driver shortage is happening.  Sign up for a free demo to learn how WorkHound can help!