The shortage of truck drivers is not only an industrial problem, it is everyone’s problem. The lack of truck drivers increases the cost of everything from weekly grocery stores to Amazon Prime memberships.
The turnover of the drivers is sky-high and one hundred thousand extra drivers will be needed in the coming decade to meet demand.
There is no simple solution, but here are four solutions that can help the industry to hire more truck drivers.
- Rebuilding loyalty
Carriers find it difficult to inspire loyalty in their drivers. Driven by the promise of a higher salary, many drivers reject a permanent contract in favor of contract or freelance work. But it is not easy to jump from job to job. If companies want to attract drivers again for full-time work, they must abide by schedules, give days off (including Saturdays if required) and do what they can to improve working conditions. And pay more.
- Put people first, not technology
For many, technology is the savior of the transport industry. But an infinite amount of technology won’t help unless it’s made with people in mind. Every time technology is discussed, the questions must be: what human problem are we trying to solve? And what do truck drivers need? If it is new software that optimizes deliveries and offers drivers more time with their families, please continue. But if the technology only benefits senior management, think again. Technology used to increase profits is inevitably short-lived and does not solve the problem of driver leaving. But it can help to give drivers more money.
- Pay drivers faster
The payment in freight transport is notoriously bad, but blaming the system is not good enough. Many shippers and carriers do not pay for 30 to 60 days. What’s up with that? It is time to modernize these systems so that drivers are paid quickly and digitally. That means that payments come through in days instead of weeks or months, and that access to money is immediate. Driving a truck is stressful enough without having to worry about cash flow. Paying drivers faster and giving them more money will reduce the shortage of truck drivers.
- Pay drivers more money
Finally, but not least, the issue of wages. Transport companies need to face the facts – the only way to boost loyalty and retain drivers is to offer higher, fairer wages. Earning per kilometer is what keeps out potential new recruits in large numbers. Switching to an hourly salary scale or a monthly wage will help – as long as it appears to be a fair amount. Benefits are also a consideration. Younger administrators in particular more often choose a company that offers good benefits than a company that does not. And they want to be paid fairly.
It is actually very simple. Companies must change their image to hire truck drivers. If they don’t, the shortage of truck drivers will continue to exist.