Since the beginning of the pandemic, shelves at your local store may be emptier than ever. One of the biggest reasons for this is the shortage of truck drivers. While many people don’t pay truckers much mind unless they are stuck behind the rig on the interstate, most of the American economy is dependent on these essential workers. Everything you see in stores has been processed and shipped in by truckers, who drive thousands of miles per year to make sure people have the goods they need. Like most industries, the Pandemic has hit the shipping industry hard and has affected the already declining amount of drivers in the profession. So what exactly is going on with truck driver demand?
The State of Driver Demand
The decline of interest in truck driving began pre-pandemic for several reasons. Demanding hours had a huge effect on the national interest in truck driving, as jobs could take drivers away from their families for weeks or months at a time. This is paired with the fact that average truck driver wages have gone up minimally since the 90s with the annual turnover rate measuring to about 94% between 1995 to 2017, according to the Department of Labor Statistics. Drivers have spent years pre-pandemic demanding the betterment of facilities truck drivers use daily, like truck stops and restrooms, and the demand for safety has only increased since 2020. Truck drivers deserve clean facilities in order to maintain good hygiene and health for the long hours they spend on the road.
The pandemic changed the industry tremendously in a short amount of time. There were too many drivers on the payroll for many companies and not enough for others shipping necessary products like food and medicine. In 2022, the industry once again faces high demand for drivers and a shortage of willing workers.
Why is Demand So High?
The industry is still recovering from fluctuations due to the pandemic. After mass layoffs in 2020 due to the decreased demand for some goods and interest in containing the pandemic, the industry is once again in dire need of drivers. Many fleets are desperate to bridge the layoff gap they created when the pandemic started. Others hope to keep up with the increased demand for goods now that many businesses are open once again.
What is the Solution?
The good news is that there are several ways to aid this labor shortage.
Carriers and trucking facilities are already making strides to decrease the amount of contact drivers have with outside staff and improve the cleanliness and safety of trucker facilities. To replenish their fleets, companies will have to increase wages and benefits for drivers to compete for the small pool of drivers. Increased wages will mean increased expenses for companies, which will likely mean prices of food and services may go up significantly in the next few years. Experts agree that it will take a few years to return the industry to its pre-pandemic efficiency, and expect this shortage to last anywhere from 2023 to 2025.
That being said, it is likely that the benefits for this job will increase in the coming years as well. Many carriers already pay for CDL classes and certification of future drivers, and since training only takes a few weeks, trucking could be an exciting option for anyone wanting a fast career change. Career changes have been abundant since the beginning of the pandemic, so carriers will likely tap into this new employment pool to find the candidates they feel will take best to the job.
Truck Driver Institute Gets You on the Road in 3 Weeks
Whether you worked with cars in your last job or you are eager to learn your way around a truck, Truck Driver Institute teaches everything drivers need to know to pass the commercial driver’s license test in 3 weeks. High Demand for drivers means drivers can have their pick of carriers, and TDI can help match our students with a carrier who understands their lifestyle with our career placement programs. Truck drivers are a vital asset to the American economy, and we want to ensure our graduates are taken care of. Learn more about how TDI assists driver demand by contacting us today.