The Changing Face Of Trucking

Atlanta, Georgia – It’s no secret the trucking industry is facing significant challenges when it comes to attracting and retaining drivers for its workforce. Right now, nearly a third of all truck drivers are between 45 and 54 years old. According to CBS News, drivers 65 and older now make up 10% of all commercial vehicle operators in the U.S.

Many baby-boomers have had enough of the ever-changing regulations and no longer find the rewards of a trucking career to be worth the frustration and risks. Retirements among this segment of the industry are up significantly according to a 2017 report in Fleet Owner citing a 2017 survey by HireRight. The survey of 4,000 human resources, recruiting, security, and management professionals in the transportation space conducted yearly found that retirement rates among truck drivers jumped a whopping 33% in 2016 and expected to continue to rise.

 

To make matters worse, nearly a third of new drivers quit within their first 90 days, and 50% quit within the first six months. The industry has long been dominated by a male workforce which makes up about 95% of the driver population. However, the industry is turning to a new demographic to help fill seats.

“We are trying to bring awareness to communities across the country to help people to go into minority communities and speak to both African American and Latino women.”

– Kevin Reid, C.E.O. of National Minority Trucking Association

More and more women, and especially African-American women, are considering a career in trucking according to a new report from 11Alive.com.  “The average age of the American truck driver now is between 53 and 56 years old, so we have a generation that is going into retirement and we really have to focus on how we are going to recruit the next generation,” Kevin Reid, CEO of National Minority Trucking Association based in College Park, told 11Alive.com. “We are trying to bring awareness to communities across the country to help people to go into minority communities and speak to both African American and Latino women,” Reid added.

Kevin Reid, CEO of National Minority Trucking Association / photo courtesy of 11Alive.com

Transportation Nation Network expects this trend to continue as the trucking industry grapples with the effects of pervasive discontent among many of those behind-the-wheel about the current working conditions. From a parking shortage which is creating dangerous situations for drivers, to restrictive regulations making it extremely difficult to grow a small trucking business; the trucking industry must look beyond just recruiting in new demographic areas if it wants to adequately solve this issue. Working conditions must improve for truckers inside the cab and sleeper, at the shipper/receiver, and inside operations departments of trucking companies if the industry is going to sufficiently revitalize the driver pool for years to come.

While we are pleased the industry is expanding opportunities to people in communities who have historically been somewhat of an afterthought, it’s unrealistic for industry stakeholders to expect retention and job satisfaction rates among truckers to improve by simply changing the demographics of people they put in their trucks. All people, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or gender expect a reasonable level of safety and respect for the contributions they make. Most everyone would agree, we still have a long way to go.

Video report is shared courtesy of 11Alive.com.

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