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 Take Advantage of the Driver Shortage

By Joe Stein

At least when it comes to the job market, it is good to be in demand. Despite reports from the U.S. Census Bureau that the number of drivers is at an all-time high, there still is a significant shortage of qualified and safe drivers for employers. This week, we will take a look at what this fact means for current drivers, and also how it impacts potential new entries into the profession.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2017 (the most current data we have available to us right now), there are over 3.5 million drivers, but that still leaves a shortage of almost 100,000 in the profession.
For those currently in the profession, now may be a great time for you to start a job search. As an experience driver with an excellent safety record, you should have little difficulty generating interest from other employers if you decide to pursue this path. You may be wondering, however, other than the ease in which you may generate interest, why you should be exploring a new opportunity. Below is a list of just some of the reasons to consider it at a time when employers are fighting for talent.
1) Money per Mile: Has your current employer kept up with the increasing wages driven by this driver shortage? Or, have they taken you for granted due to your loyalty or comfort level? If money is of interest to you (as it is to most people), you may be surprised to find out how much you are worth to another company. Many companies are even offering signing bonuses to incentivize a person to change employers. 2) Routing: One of the toughest aspects of being a truck driver (besides the actual driving of the truck) is the time on the road away from the family. If your current employer is still giving you some of the toughest routes that keep you on the road for long periods of time, you may want to pursue a better schedule. A more regional trucking firm (or at least one that will balance your time away from home) may make a job move very worthwhile.
3) Benefits: If you are with a smaller trucking firm, you may find that they do not offer all the benefits of other companies (or charge you a lot more for them). Switching to a company with an affordable full suite of benefits may be the right move for you.
4) Better Equipment: Many trucking firms are realizing just how important equipment is to a driver. When you think about this, it really makes sense, since you spend so much of each day inside your vehicle and rely on it to be comfortable and safe. If you are currently driving an older rig that breaks down on a regular basis, perhaps it is time to change employers to a company that has a newer (and safer) fleet to drive.
For those thinking of entering the profession, now is still a great time to do so due to the strong economy and an aging current driving workforce moving towards retirement. We are still in a long-term shortage for drivers, and unless there is a major recession upcoming that stalls the economy (and that is not predicted), this will not change any time soon.
Of course, driving a truck is not without its challenges (some of which are noted above), such as time away from family, equipment, and challenging routes. You also have to deal with the weather and traffic while driving, all while spending tens of hours alone in your rig. Entering the profession requires instruction, license, and hours of driving practice, so the decision should be well thought out in advance of entering. It is not an easy gig, but one that can be rewarding and stable to those who stay with it.
Driving is not just a stereotypical white male role anymore. More and more females and/or members of other racial groups are entering the profession, providing a much needed boost in labor numbers and different perspectives/experiences.
So, whether you are a current driver who stays in the profession due to finding a better role, or just entering the profession, we all benefit from your decision. The nation’s economy depends on hardworking truck drivers to deliver our goods across the country. Truck drivers allow us to have access to goods from anywhere in the country at a price much lower than otherwise would be possible. So, for those currently driving…we appreciate what you do, and for those thinking of entering…a thank you in advance for your services.