America’s Driver Shortage: The State of the Trucking Industry in 2017

July 13, 2017 8:18 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The ecommerce industry is one of the fastest growing industries across the nation. In fact, the number of online purchases being made each year has continually increased by nearly 25 percent year after year. What does all of this mean for a trucking company in Minnesota, and for the industry as a whole? It means that the demand for transportation of these goods is steadily increasing, which would be excellent for the trucking industry, except for one problem—we have fewer drivers than we need.

America is currently facing one of the worst truck driver shortages in history. Despite growing demands on the trucking industry, the number of truck drivers continues to drop. According to the American Truckers Association, there are approximately 48,000 unfilled trucker positions, and that number is expected to increase exponentially over the next 10 years. At the same time, we constantly read in the media about the high unemployment rate, so why the shortage of drivers? Well, there are several reasons:

  • An aging workforce: Perhaps one of the largest factors contributing to the driver shortage is the high average age of the existing workforce. The average age of today’s trucker is 49, which means more truckers are retiring from the industry year after year. According to the American Truckers Association, the need to replace retirees accounts for more than 50 percent of unfilled trucker positions in the U.S.
  • The industry does not attract a female workforce: By 2018, women are expected to make up more than half of the nation’s workforce—yet fewer than 6 percent of truck drivers are women. Historically, truck driving has been seen as a predominantly male industry, and little has been done to change that image to attract an ever-growing female workforce over the years.
  • Too many hours for too little pay: Although truck driver wages have increased over the past few years, the demand on truck drivers has also increased. Due to a rapidly growing industry, drivers are expected to put in more hours and more miles without seeing comparable wage increases. The result is a high turnover rate in the trucking industry. In fact, most drivers entering the industry for the first time typically only stay in their position for less than a year.

The good news is that transportation and logistics companies across the U.S. are responding to the driver shortage by reaching out to all segments of the work population, improving benefits, increasing wages and even providing sign-on bonuses to new recruits. The driver shortage may not come to a crisis yet, as long as the industry continues to provide wage increases and take steps to improve driver retention.

K-Way Express, Inc. has always been a trucking company in Minnesota known for treating our drivers well. We strive to not only provide a positive and healthy working environment, but to give our drivers the benefits they deserve. We offer an excellent benefits package and good home time. If you’re interested in joining the leading trucking company in Minnesota, fill out our driver application online today!

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