The truck driver shortage is a weighty problem, not only for fleets but for the entire country. When companies can’t deliver goods on time, everyone suffers, from the distributor to the consumer. The shortage has been ongoing for years and only worsened during the pandemic. What can the industry do to improve this situation? Let’s dive into the three main factors affecting the trucking shortage and how we can tackle the problem.
5 Ways to Address the Truck Driver Shortage
Every industry has room for improvement; trucking is no exception. Let’s explore five different ways that managers can start closing this gap.
No. 1: Increase Wages and Benefits
There isn’t always a lot of money to go around in a fleet business. However, wage increases are always a sound investment– especially now, when truck drivers are hard to come by. Fleet managers should have two areas of focus: pay and benefits.
The average pay for a trucker in the U.S. is $47,130 per year or $22.60 per hour. You can remain competitive by offering yearly pay increases, weekend driving pay increases, performance bonuses, and rewards programs.
As for benefits, a comprehensive benefits program often involves a 401(k) plan, health care, and paid time off. Also consider wellness options and coverage for dependents.
No. 2: Encourage Everyone to Apply
The trucking industry is dominated by white men. Consider updating your promotional materials to encourage underrepresented groups like women, minority communities, and veterans to apply. An imbalanced working culture can be unwelcoming to these groups and decrease your hiring pool. If you diversify your workforce, it will be a more welcoming place for people to apply.
No. 3: Improve Conditions
One reason so many people turn away from trucking is that it is a challenging job. The biggest challenge is spending so much time away from home and family. Not only does this isolate people from their loved ones, but it also affects physical health. As a result, we see most driver shortages in on-the-road and full-truckload fleets.
If you modify your fleet to a less-than-truckload or parcel driver method, you’d see an increase in applicants. Or, you can adopt a relay-style strategy where your drivers operate locally and pass trucks off to someone else to finish the route so they can go home.
No. 4: Consider Autonomous Trucking
Research into autonomous driving is so hot right now because the trucking industry has suffered from this shortage. A future where autonomous trucks can handle long-haul trucking would eradicate this problem completely. You can still have truckers behind the wheel of a level two autonomous vehicle. Meanwhile, level four or five autonomous vehicles will operate independently. Stay current on the autonomous trucking topic — you may want to adopt this technology soon.
No. 5: Invest in Fleet Technology
No one wants to work in a fleet that’s behind the times. If you’re still having your drivers record things on paper or make phone calls for every minor update, they’ll grow frustrated fast. Update to a fleet management system like Azuga to simplify operations for everyone.
Everything is easier on your end as a fleet manager. You have a dashboard to optimize dispatching, safety scores to monitor drivers, and reports that help you track everything you want to know. Meanwhile, drivers have an app that makes it easy to communicate with you and the system with the click of a button.
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