While many American industries need employees, one of the most desperate needs is truck drivers, both independent drivers and company employees. According to of the American Trucking Association, the problem of shortage is more serious in the long-distance truck sector, where almost 600,000 drivers are currently employed and 60,000 more drivers are needed.
Meanwhile, young workers hesitant to spend long hours, weeks away from home, loneliness and other difficulties of transportation in long distance trucks. That is despite the fact that the training period is short and the payment can range between $ 50,000 and $ 100,000, or more.
In a recent Marketplace story, Portland driver Petru Strugari, 61, said that trucking has provided a stable life for his family, has not been easy. Strugari learned how to drive trucks in the Romanian army and began to drive commercially after emigrating to the United States in the early 80’s and was fired from a machine shop.
“You earn money because you work long hours, but it’s not enough,” said Strugari. “The food is expensive, you sleep in the truck, you go for two weeks, if you have a family, it’s difficult.” My wife complained all the time, “Do not you want to go home?” I told her I was not brought home They want the truck to work all the time. “
Lately, truck companies have been raising wages to increase hiring and retention.
According to Glassdoor, the truckers’ average base salary increased 5.1 percent in the last year to $ 55,435. The truckers ‘wages start higher and increase faster than many other workers’ occupations.
“Truck transportation began to experience a shortage of drivers in the mid-1980s,” according to economist Michael Belzer of Wayne State University. “What he has is a shortage of compensation and intensification of working conditions. And the work is not attractive enough to lure people into the industry to stay. “
Payment is not the only obstacle to attracting drivers Some potential drivers think that self-driven trucks could radically change long-haul trucks Several large truck manufacturers are working on self-propelled trucks or “autonomous” trucks.
While such trucks are not yet expected to eliminate driver shortages soon, they could change the logistics of the industry in “the long term. “And most experts predict the specialized use of autonomous trucks, not a complete replacement of the current 18-wheeler.