If you have been around the truck industry, the shortage of CDL drivers has been a topic of discussion. What type of shortage are we talking about? Some estimates say that trucking companies will need to hire 89,000 new drivers every year. Why is that? More importantly, how can you use this to your advantage?
Some people go through truck driver training school, get their first job, and decide being a long-distance trucker is not for them. So they quit and find a different type of truck driving job. But the need for long-distance driver’s remains and these jobs are reposted as open.
Others realize they need more money than many driving jobs offer. Regulations now restrict a working day to 11 hours of driving time followed by a mandatory 8 hours of rest. Add monitoring devices to limit speed and a job that pays by the mile ends up being less than a driver can make elsewhere.
One thing that everyone agrees on is that the driver’s wage must rise with the cost of living. CDL drivers are skilled professionals worthy of earning a good wage but the pay that once was “good” isn’t good enough today. The average age of a CDL driver is relatively high. Many of today’s drivers started when the pay was relatively “good” and have been on the road for decades.
As the truck-driving population ages there are also more health issues forcing retirement. The CDL driver must pass a physical in order to stay on the road and it is difficult to get enough exercise when you spend your workday sitting down. Despite the challenges, many drivers love the life of a trucker.
Technology is changing the industry but a well-trained driver can still find a job. The introduction of the driverless truck has some people thinking there won’t be a need for more drivers. You might even see a truck today with no visible driver because they are in limited use. Eventually we will see “driverless lanes” on highways but off the highway that truck will still need a driver who can handle the sophisticated controls. There will always be a variety of types of trucks, so there will always be a need for drivers who can drive that variety.
The challenge for carriers is not that people will not apply for open driving jobs but that they must be highly selective about the standards their drivers maintain. A professional driver trained at a reputable truck driver training school has the qualifications needed for immediate employment. Someone who can only drive a pickup truck needs more training before they can get the job.
Truck driver training schools meet the challenge of training CDL drivers for today’s workforce by adapting their classes to the current requirements. Good schools help match drivers to jobs so the need for CDL drivers is met.