According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the industry saw a 2.8% increase in heavy-duty truck drivers in 2011 when compared to 2010, coming in at 1.51 million drivers.
After reaching a high of 1.8 million in 2008, carriers and shippers began experiencing a shortage of drivers due to the recession in which a lot of drivers exited the business, dropping numbers as low as 1.47 million (18.4%) in 2010. But from May 2010 to May 2011, close to 42,000 additional truck drivers were hired with that number continuing to improve into 2012. 1
January rang in the New Year with 9,800 additional jobs but slowly decreased to 1,900 between February and March, which BLS explains to be “the first decrease since August 2011.” 2 Despite the drop, BLS predicts a driver growth of 21% from 2010 to 2020.
But don’t get too excited. There is still anticipation of a significant shortage as the economy recovers. It is estimated that by July 1, 2013 (when Hours of Service compliance is fully implemented) driver shortage will peak at around 250 ,000 drivers, hitting above the 150,000 mark in 2013 and reaching nearly 240,000 by 2014, with the shortage lasting longer than that which occurred during the 2004 recovery.3
With an anticipated driver shortage, it is no surprise that driver pay is going up as well.
The mean hourly wage for heavy-duty truck drivers increased from $18.97 in 2010 to $19.15 per hour with a mean annual wage of $39,830. 2
The first quarter of 2012 showed an increase of 14,400 in truck payrolls, according to the American Trucking Associations, along with increases associated with private fleets of 1-2 cents per mile, not to mention sign-on bonuses in the range of $1,500-$3,500 to attract drivers and draw them away from their competitors. 4
FTR senior consultant Noel Perry offers good news for drivers, expecting wages to average $60,000-$90,000 by 2014. But along with good news for drivers comes bad news for shippers, as rate increases are expected to account for higher costs of conducting business.
And although pay is certainly a factor in driving applicants towards a job, drivers are looking for more in an employer.
The Journal of Commerce listed in a CostDown Consulting study the top concerns that lead drivers to leaving their job or choosing to stay. This includes not only compensation, bonuses (such as the sign-on bonuses mentioned above), and benefits, but keeping the promises set forth upon hirement. A company may be able to lure you in with money but do they hold true to their word?
And what about respect and problem resolution? Isn’t that important? Take the recent case over driver harassment involving over a hundred women drivers from an Iowa trucking company who claimed they were sexually harassed by their male trainers. The women stated that CRST Van Expedited failed to stop the harassment after they cited their experiences.
Despite testimonies, the court dismissed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s suit seeking compensation and changes in the company’s policy, stating that they used a “sue first, ask questions later litigation strategy” instead of “investigating every worker’s claim and seeking informal settlements before suing the company.” 5 The EEOC announced it will be petitioning the case.
Would you continue working for a company such as this?
Other driver concerns making the Journal of Commerce’s list include home time, the ability to communicate, equipment and equipment maintenance, training, and clear/fair work rules.
*Excellent Pay and Benefits: We compensate our drivers for their hard work, offering a $1500 sign-on bonus, excellent pay, safety bonuses, a comprehensive benefits package for eligible full-time employees, and much more!
*Flexibility in work schedules: Full-time and Part-time positions are available.
*Home Time: As a family-owned business, Road Scholar understands the importance of family, which is why we allow flexibility in your work schedule to allow you to spend the well-deserved and needed time with your family, so your personal life is not inconvenienced by work.
*A Great Work Environment: Our operations team is friendly, courteous, and knowledgeable. We treat our drivers with respect and eliminate any discrimination. One of Road Scholar’s female drivers takes pride in driving the American Breast Cancer truck, a cause dear to her heart, remarking that she has never faced inequality due to being a woman at Road Scholar.
*Excellent Equipment: We conduct daily maintenance checks and operate newer models…one of the reasons why we’ve never been cited for a piece of faulty equipment in an accident!
*New Sights/Once-in-a-Lifetime Experiences: The ability to see new places/sights and meet new people. One of our drivers even met Lorretta Lynn at a Tennessee truck stop. Another witnessed a tornado come across the highway he was traveling on.
*Make a Difference: Drive with a purpose by climbing onboard one our awareness trucks. Whether it is our Autism Speaks or Stop Bullying truck, take pride in transporting freight while helping spread awareness. Here’s what one of our drivers had to say about the awareness campaign. “The awareness program is really good. I get a lot of compliments about the foundation that I drive for. I drive the American Foundation for the Blind. I had one person in Virginia, a gentleman out of the blue, come up and tell me that his daughter was in that foundation. It made me feel pretty good because I feel like I’m the odd ball out of the whole group. He liked the truck. He took all kinds of pictures.”
Interested in a rewarding carrier? Apply today!
What’s most important to you when applying for a truck driver position? Cast your vote/comments at http://gsfn.us/t/2s0d6:
-Equipment/Vehicle Model and Maintenance
Tags: American Foundation for the Blind, American trucking Associations, Autism Speaks, awareness campaign, BLS, Bureau of Labor Statistics, driver shortage, employment, hours of service, stop bullying, truck drivers, trucking company, trucking industry