Truckers are more in demand than ever. At the tail-end of 2017, an estimated 248,000 drivers were needed to cover the shortfall, and the lack of quality operators is hitting logistics companies’ wallets. The need for new talent is consequently through the roof, and estimates suggest that at current levels, there’ll be a continued need for solid drivers as far afield as 2026. Considering the number of industries that are seeing shrinking employment levels, the demand for new talent is encouraging for anyone who is looking for employment and might not have considered long-haul driving.
Students are in demand
The trucking industry is typically dominated by men who are approaching middle-age, meaning there’s a rush to secure young talent fresh out of school. As Rene Dulle, an expert in the field puts it, ‘“[e]mployers are falling over themselves to hire students.’”
Drivers must be 21 or older, possess a commercial driver’s license and have a clean bill of health. For any youngster looking for work, those are low barriers to entry.
It’s not a male-only industry
Look no further than Emily Duck, profiled in Transport Topics, for an example of a woman helping to diversify a male-dominated industry. ‘“It’s an empowering job, especially as a female,’” Duck told ttnews.com. ‘“There’s 80,000 pounds in your control.’”
Currently the female workforce is estimated at a paltry 6%, but there’s absolutely no reason more women can’t get involved. In fact, this is a job that caters to people of all backgrounds. Provided you can reach the clutch pedals and don’t mind extended stints on the road, it can mean an opportunity to see parts of America you never thought you’d take in first-hand.
‘“I went from being broke, making minimum wage and living paycheck-to-paycheck to getting a paycheck that was over $1,000 for one week after taxes,’” Duck says.
Such is the nature of the job, there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Goods need to be delivered, both regionally and cross-country, meaning there are options available. Drivers like Duck drive long shifts but go home to bed every night and typically net between $35,000 to $40,000 a year. Duck herself works from 4PM to 4AM, but shifts can mirror normal working hours as well.
For those people less worried about their social commitments, and who want to make money faster, cross-country excursions take you away from home for days at a time – but the sweetener is that they pay more.
New legislation is protecting drivers
New rules implemented by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have been imposed to cut down on the dangers of long-haul driving. The chief concern is fatigue: a driver who falls asleep at the wheel of a freight truck carrying heavy cargo is in immediate and serious danger. Now, drivers are limited to a 70-hour workweek, a 14-hour work day and a 11-hour drive.
In short, employers can’t pressure young drivers to work illegal hours. Drivers use digital clocks inside their cabs to keep track of their time.