Industry Perspective

Using a conservative estimate of 35% annual driver turnover & cost per driver between $5,000.00 to $10,000.00 for recruitment alone, gives a fleet of 500 trucks annual recruiting costs between $875 thousand to $1.75 million with negligible impact on retention. This is a reality for the industry as a whole.

Long weeks on the road away from home and family and stagnant salaries are making it hard to recruit drivers. The average age of a commercial driver in the U.S. is 57, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and retirements in recent years have long-haul carriers worried about filling their spots.

From deliveries of online shopping orders to massive pieces of equipment, the open road and trucking help drive the U.S. economy. Autonomous cars and drones may be on the horizon, but trucks—with drivers—still haul and deliver goods to doorsteps. There’s just one problem.

Commercial Drivers

  • America has more open trucking jobs than available commercial drivers. As older drivers retire in greater numbers, the industry faces a driver shortage. Shortage is expected to be even greater with changes to the Hours-of-Service-Rules implemented by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

  • The year’s long labor shortfall was masked during the recession as trucking volume plummeted. Consumers bought less, and builders hauled fewer materials with the housing market’s collapse. The U.S. economy and trucking volume have since recovered. At the end of 2015 the industry had approximately 50,000 unfilled truck driver jobs.

  • The annualized turnover rate at large truckload carriers rose 13 points to 100% in the third quarter of 2015, the highest it has been in three years, the American Trucking Associations said.

  • Expect it to get worse, as the economy continues to grow, existing drivers retire, and increasing regulations make it harder for drivers to meet government qualifications.

  • It has been reported that many in the industry are saying higher pay is not enough. Nor is regular home time.  Anecdotal evidence suggests that sectors that have always had low turnover thanks to higher pay and more home time, such as less-than-truckload and private fleets, are having more trouble finding drivers than ever before.

 Challenges for States

  • Where are the driver candidates?

  • What firms in your state require these jobs?

  • Why would driver candidates (e.g. dislocated veterans etc..) come to your state versus another state that also has the same need?

  • What differentiates your location from all other locations that require the same driver candidate?

  • What is the benefit that can be provided the driver candidate at your location versus all others?

  • Why your state versus other states?

Commercial truck Driver Shortage (Opportunity)

The skills gap is also recognized in non technology oriented jobs as represented in the growing shortage of commercial truck drivers. CEO participation produced many opinions relative to the commercial truck driver shortage including the following (limited) list.

1)      CEO’s do not want surprises of which this issue was a surprise to many. The CEO’s of corporations that utilize 3rd party carriers were really taken aback as they had indications of the need, but never fully appreciated the growing magnitude of the problem as recognized by their CEO counterparts who manage these 3rd party firms,

2)     They like the incentive of  an education scholarship to be provided their  workforce (including drivers), and really welcome the concept of provisioning an incentive to a driver (where warranted) of a scholarship credit for a family member,

3)     Education is the cornerstone to executive professional development, and essential to career development for truck drivers. Mentorship is required to insure alignment of education, and job goals,

4)     Truck driver quality of life (e.g. home time etc..) is key to a productive employee, and well warranted to insure a productive driver,

5)     Where applicable, they support greater truck accommodations  including that required by a driver who wants to pursue their education from the comfort of their cab,

6)     In addition to millennials, they fully support a greater concentration of driver candidates from the more vulnerable population segments (e.g. Dislocated Veterans, Native Americans etc..),

7)     Want an approach to soliciting truck drivers that is more inclusive of women drivers (e.g. Spouses of Veterans etc..), and where appropriate/applicable, provisioning of accommodations (within the truck) for the driver’s  family members in a helper/ride along capacity,

8)    Support a Redesign of the Commercial Drivers License (CDL) to include:

  • Education/curriculum consistent with growing skill needs usually associated with other corporate  business units including Logistics, Information Technology (e.g. Cyber Security, Cloud Technology etc..), Business administration, finance etc…,

  • Greater involvement of the insurance industry,

  • In depth curriculum on all facets of safety (e.g. fatigue, terror related etc..),

  • Courses on health, diet, hygiene, environment,

  • Etc..

9)     Would like to see development of  cross-industry “Regional Proving Grounds for Collaborative  Research & Development” specific to highway transportation,

10)  Support the establishment of an association (comprised of C-Level Executives) of corporations that utilize 3rd party carriers, with a mission to continually identify, model, and assess systemic risk within, and across industry, as it relates to all highway transportation issues including ones like this.