Sunday, June 17, 2012

The truck driver shortage

Today's N&O runs a story about how hard a time trucking firms are having filling open positions for truck drivers.  Economic logic would make one skeptical of this claim: unemployment remains over 8% and trucking jobs pay relatively well ($38-40k plus benefits for entry level) for work with low educational requirements.  Given the massive loss of construction jobs (compared to five years ago), one would think trucking would easily absorb some of the surplus labor from that sector. 

The article says one cause of the surplus is that prospective truckers are unwilling or unable to pay the $4-6k cost of learning to drive a truck.  Another is federal regulations requiring clean safety records of all new truckers.  But the real mystery to me is why pay is not rising to attract even more people into the field. 


  1. I have seen adds where some trucking companies will pay one to get the training needed.

  2. Over the road trucking, where the work is, is the very definition of a job to disrupt, if not destroy a traditional family. Truckers are forced to zig-zag across the country, work erratic schedules, often manage their own troubleshooting in unfamiliar locations, miss their kids birthdays, graduations, weddings and forgo what most of us thing of as normal social lives. Add to that the prospect of living out of a sleeper cab .......

    $40K a year for that is not an easy sell. Although I now manage a modest software company, I have been both trained and certified to drive truck and did so during my college years. I have several family members who work in trucking today. Being a retail clerk for $22k per year would be a better deal in my experience.

  3. There's also the fact that many, many trucking companies classify their truckers as "independent contractors" and stiff them with a lot of expenses. 40K of gross income doesn't go very far after you have to pay for the employer share of payroll taxes, health insurance, workers' comp, etc. (on top of all the usual expenses that regular employees would have).

    The IRS and courts have repeatedly determined that most truckers are actually employees, but that doesn't stop the companies from continuing the practice.

  4. Yep..trucking is a total screwjob. Why would any sane person waste their time?

  5. Truck driving is not a job for just anyone, and although the pay is good for some drivers, it would need to be very high to keep enough qualified drivers working unless they love the life. Anyone in the industry knows trucking is not an easy job, and that it's more a way of life than a job. People need to give drivers more respect, be considerate when sharing the road with them, and think about what could happen to this country without enough quality, qualified drivers to deliver our goods. As the article mentioned, companies are offering pretty good sign on bonuses, and pay is increasing for experienced drivers. I expect that pay will grow because without enough good drivers, we're all in trouble.

  6. Great article! Truck driving is a profession that not too many people want to venture on. With the high physical demands, low compensation and poor working environment, it is no wonder why a lot of people do not want to take this kind of job. However, there are ways to somehow improve the working environment of truck drivers and that is by using ergonomic truck accessories such as air ride seats.

  7. I think there's a shortage because there are too many requirements to become a licensed driver of trucks and other drivers prefer to drive in a small vehicle because of less expenses rather than 6+ wheelers vehicles. You are correct!

    I'm in logistic business too and we understand clearly the importance of truck drivers I hope this shortage will get better soon. By the way we also offer a fuel price data that is updated in real time every 6 hours. You might want to check it.

  8. I have a friend who works at a fleet services company. There is a need for drivers, but it seems like a lot of people just aren't attracted to life on the road. A lot of people don't last.

  9. How can I get back on the road he road for 4 yrs after being off the road for 4yr?


  10. Thanks for sharing this. We've been wanting to find some great trucking companies in Calgary. I'm not sure how to do that. Do you have any suggestions?

  11. One good reason for this is that more drivers are deciding to go independent. They earn an average of $55k and can even reach to $66k at some point if they get good deals and a fair amount of extra miles. This can still be resolved though. For companies to empathize with their drivers, listen to what they have to say and do their best to address these complaints.

    Odessa Coldiron

  12. Thanks for the great information. I really want to find some local truck driver jobs in Ontario. Do you know of any? Thanks.

  13. Thanks for sharing this information. In truck driver jobs, there are things we must do in Ontario.

  14. Truck driving requires dedication and skill to control that huge truck. The sheer size of truck, the length and timing makes driving trucks different from cars and van.

  15. when did the regulations go into effect?

  16. hello, just wondering if you would like to receive a guest post on how the federal regulations are actually affecting the jobs? After reading this article and your blog I think it could be pretty useful! Please do let me know!

  17. Thank you for posting this! I have been looking into truck driver jobs in Ontario for a while now, but don't really know where to go or who to contact. If anyone has any insight, that would be great!

  18. This can still be resolved though. For companies to empathize with their drivers, listen to what they have to say and do their best to address these complaints.

  19. I am considering working for a trucking fleet, but starting out in this field is proving to be pretty tough. If the regulations changed I think the shortage of drivers would really improve.

  20. I can't believe there is actually a shortage in this profession! This is really interesting! Thanks for sharing! Could you tell me anything more about the truck driver jobs in ontario?

  21. I would like to work for an ontario trucking company. If I didn't have the job I have right now I would apply.

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