Transportation Companies Struggling to Keep Qualified Drivers on the Road

Truck Driver Shortage Image

Transportation companies and truck stops across the country have launched campaigns aimed at attracting and retaining workers as the industry struggles to fend off an expected shortage of qualified drivers.

Companies are trying to think ahead around how do they plan for this (shortage) and remain viable and not put themselves in a position where they cannot support their end customers and continue to grow, Scott Perry, vice president of supply management with Ryder’s Fleet Management Solutions division, told Reuters.

Perry and other transportation officials told the news agency that part of the problem is that many older drivers will be retiring in the next few years, while potential truckers are opting to either go to a 4-year college or trade school to become plumbers and electricians.

According to a Global Insight Report, economic growth will mean the transportation industry will hire an additional 320,000 drivers with the right qualifications and experience on their resumes over the next decade, and more than 219,000  additional new trucking jobs that will be created to replace older drivers.

The size of the white male population of ages 35-54 – a demographic group that currently provides over half of all truck drivers – will decline by over 3 million persons between 2004 and 2014, according to the report. The report also found that the growth of commercial truck drivers has slowed from 1.4% to nearly 0.5% because there is currently a shortage of properly trained drivers.

If you are thinking about a career in trucking, the good news is that it is one of the few fields that you are not required to have a 4-year degree. However, you must make sure you have the proper training and qualifications on your resume in order to find work.

Bob Costello, vice president and chief economist for the American Trucking Association, told the Press-Enterprise that the key word when it comes to trucking jobs is "qualified."

That’s an important distinction,” Costello said of the qualified application. I’d bet most companies tell you that they get lots of applicants but can’t hire a fair amount of them."

To become a qualified commercial truck driver, you must have a commercial driver's license (CDL), which you can train for through a number of private or public vocational or technical postsecondary schools. Some states will require that you complete a certified training course in basic truck driving before you can get your CDL.

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