You may assume that the trucking industry is thriving and growing at a rapid rate since freight trucks deliver more than 70% of the goods in the United States. Even though the trucking industry is growing rapidly, there has been an alarming shortage of truck drivers.
This has started to affect the industry. The lack of truck drivers has threatened the industry from succeeding. To understand this issue, we are going to look at the main challenges that are affecting the trucking industry. We are also going to discuss what steps trucking companies can take to overcome the many challenges facing the industry.
The Age Factor
Currently, there are approximately 3.5 million truck drivers in the United States. Most truck drivers tend to be old white men with 66% of the truckers being white and male, 6% of the drivers being female, and 28% of the truckers classed as minorities. The age factor is a massive challenge for the trucking industry since truck drivers in America are 49 years on average. This is 7 years older than the average age of workers in other industries.
Older truck drivers mean that once they reach their retirement age, it becomes more difficult to have younger workers replace them. One of the main reasons behind this is the small size of the generation replacing them which consists of people born between 1965 and 1984.
The best way to counteract the age factor in the trucking industry is to bring down the average age of a truck driver. This can be done by attracting younger millennials to view the trucking industry as a viable career option.
The Lifestyle Factor
The lifestyle of truckers isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. On average they will be spending hundreds of hours driving on the road, covering thousands of miles every single week. This will keep them away from their homes for long time periods and not everyone finds that enticing. They also have to drive on odd hours, like driving through the night to make early morning deliveries.
It can be a rewarding career option for several reasons but younger drivers don’t find the lifestyle of a trucker attractive. This is mainly because their focus is to try and maintain a healthy work-life balance. This isn’t possible when you’re a truck driver. It can be challenging to live the lifestyle of a trucker. That’s why companies are trying to attract new drivers by trying to make the job appear more comfortable. However, they have gotten mixed results from such efforts since the nature of the job requires you to spend long hours on the road and away from home.
The best way to counter the lifestyle factor is by trying to make it appear more appealing to the younger generation. Trucking businesses can start offering flexible hours which may attract younger truckers to think about joining the trucking business. This way trucking companies may get new talent to join the industry.