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More workers needed

04.6.2018 - 8:07 PM Comments: 0

According to CBS News, a new report says the trucking industry needs to hire around 90,000 new truckers each year to keep up with demand (CBS). The latest data suggests a shortfall of 50,000 drivers this year and potentially more than 174,000 drivers by 2026. While carriers are hiring steadily, they can’t find enough qualified talent and turnover is high because the job comes with too many challenges. The “Driver Shortage” has been a hot topic in trucking publications and at industry conferences for years. However, one question that is not asked enough is, “How do we recruit more female drivers to solve the capacity problem?”  Women make up 47 percent of all U.S. workers, yet only six percent of truck drivers are women (American Trucking Association). If more women worked in trucking, it would help alleviate the shortage immensely.

The trucking sector will require 100,000 new drivers per year for the following 10 years to address the industry-wide driver deficiency, as indicated by Kevin Burch, leader of Jet Express Inc., and Immediate past chairman of American Trucking Associations.

ATA a year ago announced the deficiency at an excess of 50,000 drivers. In any case, as the deficiency wages on, the freight industry booms. ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello lamented that the total national output is anticipated to grow 2.7% this year. Both Costello and Burch talked at the 2018 Recruitment and Retention Conference Feb. 22, which was co-facilitated by Conversion Interactive Agency, American Trucking Associations and Transport Topics.

“You know darn well we’re going to need more trucks,” Burch remarked.

Driver issues and motor carrier issues. Their latest examination uncovered that the driver deficiency topped both of those lists as the most problem that is begging to be addressed. The recently-effective electronic logging device mandate ranked second on both lists.

Burch recognized women and young people as demographics that could counterbalance the driver deficiency. He said that five or six years prior, women made up 3% of truck drivers. Today, they make up around 6%. As indicated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, truck drivers are 94% male, yet the whole U.S. workforce across every sector is 47% male.

Of the 7.3 million individuals in the trucking industry, nearly 3.5 million are drivers, which Burch said leaves a lot of space for dispatchers, insurance officers and PC specialists.

Notwithstanding confronting a shortage of drivers, the trucking industry is additionally portrayed by a maturing workforce. Burch said the middle age of all U.S. workers is around 42 years, while the normal time of private carrier workers is 52. Since individuals from the trucking industry have a tendency to be more seasoned, enlisting youthful ability is indispensable, Burch said.

“We’re old,” Burch said. “We’re an aging workforce.”

Even with attempting to pull in drivers, many fleets encounter difficulty keeping them. The truckload fleet driver turnover rate in 2016 was 81%; Costello said it will likely be close to 90% this year.

Burch suggested setting up a graduated program to ease 18-to 21-year-olds into the industry. Government law does not allow 18-to 21-year-olds to drive Class 8 trucks crosswise over state lines, a direction that ATA President Chris Spear called “one of the dumbest federal policies I have ever come across.”

Burch reverberated this supposition, pointing out that a young person can drive 400 miles within Ohio, but cannot drive 35 miles from Ohio into Indiana.

Approximately 48 states permit individuals in this statistic, which includes students who have just graduated from high school, to drive Class 8 trucks within state lines. Burch said he has 18-and 19-year-olds filling in as drivers for Jet Express, which is situated in Dayton, Ohio.

“Their attendance was good. They’re good people,” Burch said. “That’s got to be a source.”

Associating with employees is an essential part of keeping them, Burch said. For instance, he facilitated a lunch for his female drivers, of which there were 11 at the time. The gathering started discussions in which the ladies learned they visited the same doctors or dentists and shared similar concerns for certain types of loads.

On another occasion, Burch had a 24-year-old imminent driver visit Jet Express' central command. The young fellow brought his better half and 2-year-old girl on the visit, and he now drives for Jet Express.

“That was low-cost, high-value. Be involved. Be active in what you’re doing,” Burch said. “When you say you’ve got job opportunities, they will turn and look.”

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