Jerry Bowen reported with the nation’s unemployment rate being at the lowest level since the 1960’s, trucking companies are having a harder time than ever luring people to become truck drivers.
The California Trucking Association’s Joel Anderson explained the big problem facing the industry is that “the generation that drove trucks for so long is retiring, and we don’t have a lot of new youth coming in underneath it.” Adding to problem, said Gary Jones of the Independent Truckers Association, is the rate of pay. “You can work two jobs at McDonald’s and make about the same money as you can running a truck.”
This is causing carriers to pull out all the stops in trying to lure young recruits by offering perks, Bowen reported. One way is by imitating the benefits of the growing number of dot.com companies, where many young people are now finding employment.
Robert Lowe, President of Missouri-based Prime Inc., explained his company is upping the ante by offering everything from a “concierge so that we have someone to answer the driver’s questions when the come in” to offering an upscale food service and fitness center for drivers.
One driver Bowen spoke with while attending the recent International Trucking Show in Las Vegas said he was being hit will all sorts of offers. Bobby Larouche said he was meeting with four recruiters, each hoping to “reel me in.”
While new recruits might be impressed by these offerings, they don’t seem to faze an experienced driver like Larouche who, according to Bowen, is “considering all of his options,” including being offered as much as a $2,000 sign-on bonus.