In the past 15 years, the trucking industry has struggled with truck driver shortages, according to a report by ATA analysis 2019. For example, in 2018, the number of demands for truck drivers was 160,000, 20 percent higher from 2017. It is predicted that the need for truck drivers will increase from time to time while the last vacant job remains unfilled, thus, this could worsen driver shortage in the future.
What is the cause of driver shortage?
According to the analysis, the shortage is caused by the industry leader’s inability to attract and convince younger generations that trucking career is promising. It is said that younger generations prefer to work in a construction job that offers better economic prospects rather than being a truck driver. The shortage is also attributed to the number of drivers retiring as well as the lack of success in recruiting younger workers to fill those spots.
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In addition, it also becomes a great challenge to find qualified drivers which makes the impact of shortage much worse than the numbers suggest. 88 percent of fleets, the report wrote, said that they were getting enough applicants but many were simply not qualified. In addition, the cost of lowering hiring standards can be significant in the long run when accounting for increased insurance premiums and accidents.
Being a truck driver is not merely “to be in the job” but it should become a lifestyle of one’s career. Typically, drivers are assigned routes that put them on the road for extended periods of time before they return home, approximately for a week or two. Being on the road for such long hours can lead to loneliness. The feeling of isolation and loneliness makes this job harder to conduct. Some truckers said to Capital Press that most drivers are loners and it gets lonely sometimes to drive miles away per week hauling household goods, commodities, raw manufacturing materials and other supplies and goods.
According to Kelly Bangerter to Capital Press, being a driver is not easy as you need to juggle between calculation and racing the clock. This adds more stress with the long hours, days, and even weeks on the road. Thus, without a strong mentality, a driver is vulnerable to mind-numbness of that isolation.
What does it mean for logistics and supply chain?
If the trend stays on the course, the supply chain industry might face shipping delays, higher inventory carrying costs and perhaps even shortages at stores, said ATA report. The shortage of truckers will sooner or later impact on the economy. For example, some trucking companies will no longer be able to fill the vacant job which results in business products freeze, unable to be delivered on time. This, eventually, might lead to bankruptcy when companies cannot find enough drivers to move the product and distribute them.
Therefore, there should be an effective method to make trucking job alive again – a trick that can attract the younger generation to consider and apply to be a truck driver. One of the tricks is to raise prices to increase salaries for the drivers. Companies might also want to stay competitive with other job roles by offering attractive health insurance benefits, bonuses, and more vacation and personal days.
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