Fleet Management

Why Is There a Fleet Driver Shortage?

Post Share

We’ve talked a lot about the truck driver shortage this month, and that’s because it’s a serious concern that doesn’t seem to be going away. That means that fleet managers need to try and get ahead of it. However, before you can take any action, it’s crucial to understand how this shortage came to be in the first place. Contrary to the belief of some, this issue existed long before the pandemic. Although the pandemic did exacerbate the problem, its roots lie in pre-existing causes. Let’s discuss four causes of the shortage now and how to address them. 

Four Causes of the Trucking Shortage

No. 1: Truckers are Aging

If you work with truckers, you’ve likely noticed a trend. The average trucker is 45 years old. Of course, this may not affect a driver’s performance, but it raises a concern. It means these drivers are nearing retirement age, and what happens then? We must be able to replace retiring drivers with younger drivers who will be in the field for a while. 

However, when it comes to demographics, age is one of many problems that we face. Did you know that 84.3% of professional truck drivers are men? This creates a male-dominated environment that dissuades female applicants and significantly narrows the hiring pool.

Solution: We discuss this in greater detail in an article that we will link below, but in short, the answer is to widen the demographics of drivers we hire. We must make the job more appealing to the younger generation, which means making some changes. We can make schedules more flexible, or allow drivers to work closer to home. We must also make the job a more welcoming space for women to encourage them to join our fleets. 

Work-Life Balance

The trucking industry is famous for being hard on drivers, particularly concerning work-life balance. We see drivers work weeks up to 70 hours and remain on the road for weeks. Trucking isn’t just a job — it is also a lifestyle. This wears on many people, and they leave the industry for good to find jobs that allow for more balance. 

Solution: Some companies are implementing relay-style routes where drivers only take on a portion of a route, then pass it on to another driver. This allows drivers to stay closer to their homes and work fewer hours. There are other options as well that may not reduce hours but give drivers more flexibility. This might mean consulting drivers on what schedules work for them and giving them more days off or fewer days in a row. 

No. 3: Stagnant Wages

You may be surprised to see this on the list. After all, we have observed that fleets have been raising wages significantly over the past few years. However, it is also essential to note inflation. Unfortunately, once you factor in inflation, trucking wages are actually 50% lower than in 1980. And, of course, this only factors in the time that drivers are on the clock. Since drivers often have to sleep in their trucks and take breaks while on the road, the number is much worse.

Solution: Unfortunately, there’s no way around it. Investing in your drivers is critical to hiring and retaining them. However, wages are only one of the factors they are looking at. If you cannot offer premium wages, consider supplementing with great or unique benefits that they can’t get from other companies.

No. 4: High Company Turnover

As a member of the fleet industry, you likely won’t be surprised to learn that it has one of the highest turnover rates in the country. You may be surprised to know exactly how high that rate is– 90%. That means that the stress of finding new drivers is a constant worry, and it only gets more difficult the fewer drivers there are. 

Solution: Making your company enticing continues beyond hiring drivers. You must create a positive company culture that convinces drivers to stay. This means offering regular training, creating clear channels of communication, and offering opportunities for advancement. 

Azuga Helps Keep Drivers Happy

When you’re creating a fleet of happy drivers, Azuga has your back. Our fleet management software makes every aspect of fleet management easy so that you can focus on the big picture. That means creating a positive culture for your drivers to thrive in. Speak with one of our experts to see how we can help you streamline your processes and boost yours and your drivers’ success.

Truck Driver Shortage Update for 2023 - May 17th, 2023

Learn about the ongoing driver shortage crisis in the transportation industry. Companies must take proactive steps to address the issue, and we’ll provide tips on how. These suggestions include increasing driver wages, improving working conditions, and implementing driver recruitment and retention strategies to attract and retain qualified drivers.

How the $1.2 Trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Could Grow the Number of Fleet Drivers in the Workforce in the Future – Jan. 20th, 2022

Discover the potential impact of the infrastructure bill on the truck driver shortage. Obtain three actionable steps companies can use to navigate this situation. These steps include investing in driver training programs, leveraging technology solutions for efficient fleet management, and collaborating with industry associations and government entities to advocate for policies that address the driver shortage.

How Driver Rewards Programs Can Help Reduce Shortages and Fight Rising Gas Prices – Mar. 22nd, 2022

Discover three measures to implement driver rewards effectively to combat driver shortages and rising gas prices. These measures include developing a comprehensive rewards program that offers incentives for performance, fuel efficiency, and driver retention, leveraging telematics data to track and reward drivers' positive behaviors, and regularly communicating and promoting the rewards program to drivers to maximize engagement and motivation.