Almost everything that consumers purchase has been transported by truck drivers at some point in its journey. The industry is facing 3 major problems now – a driver shortage, driver retention and high gas prices.
The shortage of drivers is a multi-faced issue. Many drivers have reached an age when they want to retire. Meanwhile, the demand for drivers continues to increase as more goods need to be transported.
Fewer new drivers are entering the field. They cite low pay, poor working conditions, and lack of benefits as the primary reasons. Those problems are also issues for long-time drivers.
Some employers are thinking “creatively” and actively recruiting women drivers to ease the shortage. The average age of a truck driver is 35 and employers are also looking at training programs to bring younger drivers onboard – yet carriers worry about increased insurance rates for younger drivers.
There’s a disconnect between drivers, employers and industry experts as to how to solve the problem of retaining existing drivers. Industry experts are advocating for mental health resources, along with smoking cessation and weight loss programs. The reasoning is that it will foster better driver-employer relationships. However, drivers say they want pay increases, more time at home, and greater control over their routes.
The cost of fuel is stressing everyone and that’s particularly evident in the trucking industry. Everyone is playing the blame game as to why fuel prices have escalated. Some blame cutbacks in production and climate change. Still others believe it’s a plan by oil companies to make up lost revenues during the pandemic.
Escalating gas prices are placing more pressure on employers and truckers to complete jobs faster to remain profitable.
Everyone Feels the Effects
The issues facing independent operators to employers is one that’s being felt by everyone throughout the supply chain. Without drivers, products don’t get delivered. High gas prices mean it costs more to deliver and costs are being passed on to consumers across the nation. It’s all part of a complex problem that doesn’t look to be solved anytime in the near future.
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