There is no question that the trucker shortage within heavy duty trucking is due to a variety of factors, especially in light of rising inflation and gas prices. With about 1.1 million truck driving positions needing to be filled within the next 10 years, and an average turnover rate of 90%, the driver shortage could be a true concern. Many believe that the issue lies with recruiting individuals to become part of the trucking and transportation industry, but let’s take a closer look into this idea.
Large names within the trucking industry, such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s executive director and chief safety officer, Jack Van Steenburg, claim that the issue of these shortages does not lie in the recruitment of drivers, but rather in their retention. Van Steenburg says that there have been a record number of new applications for motor carrier authority in 2021, up significantly from 2019 records. While he believes that this influx of applicants may be due to capitalization on rising demands, there is no doubt that it is an exciting time to see many first-time drivers entering the industry. As these new drivers enter the workforce, however, there are many adjustments and obstacles that they must face to continue to pursue this profession.
The life of a semi-truck driver is one that is demanding and full of many lifestyle changes. These fearless drivers do anything from driving tirelessly for up to 11 hours straight, to parking in various locations to sleep, to spending many nights alone on the road in order to do their job well and deliver their goods within the necessary timing. While there are several downsides and stressors that come along with this job, there are also so many amazing benefits that outweigh them. One of the greatest things about this career path is the freedom that it provides the driver. Days by yourself driving all over the country getting to see many places while getting paid for it! In addition, the camaraderie and relationships created within this industry are like no other. Trucking and transportation creates a bond between people that allows for networking and connection that is unique to the industry. Lastly, this job allows its drivers to serve others, as they are delivering food, materials, and goods that are necessary to the everyday lives of those who are in need of the products. In order to best recruit individuals to begin their career in the trucking industry, it is important that these benefits are highlighted and emphasized.
In order to retain individuals within the industry, however, there are many important points that must be considered and understood. First and foremost, it is important that we recognize the immense sacrifice and hard work that goes into the lifestyle of a truck driver. In addition, with more aggressive and successful recruitment tactics, there should be a greater amount of new truckers entering the trucking industry. With an increase of individuals entering the industry, there should be a decrease in the extent of the driver shortage. As the driver shortage decreases, many drivers should experience a lighter load, allowing the industry to retain their drivers as a result of overall less stress and pressure.
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