Drivers Wanted

Using Data to Understand the Commercial Truck Driver Shortage

Drivers Wanted

Is the US logistics industry facing a dire shortage of commercial truck drivers?

Truckload brokerage experts and logistics journalists have been going back and forth on the question for years.

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01/07

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Top shipping & logistics challenges by business size

According to a Coyote Logistics research study, 30% of large carriers state that “driver satisfaction and retention” is one of their top three challenges, while another 28% state “recruiting new drivers” is as well.

Trucking occupations by year

In 2008, there was a noticeable dip in the number of jobs in the two occupations that make up trucking: heavy & tractor trailer truck drivers, and light truck drivers. And while the trend started to reverse itself around 2011, only in 2017 did trucking regain its 2005 peak.

Trucking unique job postings vs. avg. hires

Moreover, over the past several years, there have been about six job postings for every hire.

Postings vs. hires for blue collar occupations

To gauge how normal or abnormal this is, we need a point of comparison. Blue-collar workers in aggregate should provide one: the broad labor pool involved, workers with a high school diploma or less, is the same, and observing them as a group should offset any particular industry’s idiosyncrasies. When we look at blue-collar occupations as a group over the same period, we see approximately one posting for every hire.

Postings vs. hires, light trucking

For light trucking, the difference between hires and postings is only 1 to 2. Companies hiring light truck drivers are seeing significantly more success with their efforts to hire than trucking in aggregate.

Postings vs. hires, heavy and tractor trailer truck drivers

But for heavy and tractor trailer truck driving, it’s actually 1 to 9. Companies hiring long haul truckers are seeing low success rates when they post jobs, and it’s their struggle to hire that largely accounts for trucking’s posting dynamics.

Warehouse postings vs. hires

When young people enter transportation and warehousing, they tend to do so on the warehouse side. For most of the last four years, there have been about two hires for every warehousing job posting. This indicates that employers are able to fill these jobs via methods such as word-of-mouth referrals and local job boards, and don’t rely as much on job postings. The warehousing comparison does not only identify a more successful competitor for young talent. It also suggests trucking’s challenges are not a function of the logistics sector as a whole, but specific to trucking.

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Drivers Wanted

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