Trucking Industry Faces Uphill Battle To Recruit Drivers
The trucking industry’s marketing catchphrase for years has been, “If you’ve got it, a truck brought it.” But as trucks increasingly sit idle because of a growing shortage of drivers, the slogan might morph to: “If you can’t find it, there were no trucks to bring it.”
Already, there are up to 40,000 truck driver openings going unfilled nationwide, and it’s only going to get worse. According to the American Trucking Associations association, more than a million new drivers will be needed over the next 10 years as demand for shipping by truck grows, and more aging baby boomer drivers retire. The average age of truckers is now nearly 50 nationwide, up from 40 less than a decade ago.
Recruiting drivers is a key initiative of the state and national trucking associations, but it’s not an easy task, said Rodrigo Suarez, an economist for the national group. Nationwide, the industry is pushing to make truck-driver training “more commonplace in community colleges”.
“There’s some misconception of what trucking is all about,” he said. “It’s more professional and safe than most people realize. But it’s also a very scrutinous industry, which requires a high level of professionalism and stringent background checks. It’s tough to find qualified applicants.”