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4 min read

What To Do About the National Driver Shortage

By Connor Zazzo on Jul 9, 2021 12:00:12 PM

The national driver shortage is transforming the way that the trucking industry operates. With the coronavirus pandemic putting pressure on the trucking industry and U.S. business as a whole, finding talent that can get the job done is harder than ever. Thankfully, with tech-driven assets, finding truck drivers that match up with your specialized needs doesn’t have to feel like pulling teeth.

There are a number of aspects that affect the driver shortage and the ability to hire competent and effective drivers, but cutting to the root of the problem is something that we pride ourselves on at FATj.

The trucking industry and coronavirus lockdowns play into one another.

The transportation industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Just like all other aspects of U.S. industry, the driver shortage has come largely as a result of layoffs due to the sharp downward spike of economic activity and the resulting employment rate fall off in the United States.

This is beginning to taper off as vaccination efforts continue to ramp up, yet the supply chain isn’t seeing the same flow of commercial truck drivers returning to North American roadways in the same way that people are flocking back to work in other industries. There is a long road ahead to a full recovery, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the supply chain, which drives industry in all other realms.

Drivers have been enticed, in large part, by ballooned unemployment benefits and stimulus cash from the U.S. government. Many are considering staying home as long as possible while they receive the boosted unemployment benefits that include additional relief in consideration of Covid-19. While drivers can enjoy an adventurous lifestyle, the time away from home can be tough, so the ability to draw a check from the federal government with the bonus cash included while remaining off the roads is a powerful factor in understanding the current driver shortage.

If the coronavirus was the only factor at play in the downturn of commercial truck drivers on U.S. roadways, then the remedy would simply be time. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. There are a few other powerful currents at play here, and they must be addressed if you are to return to full capacity in your unique shipping and logistics needs.

Truck drivers are getting older.

There are fewer new drivers entering the fold than in past years. There are a variety of reasons for this, but one is perhaps the money. Driver pay has always been a concern for commercial truck drivers, and with the pandemic throwing stable work into chaos, there are fewer individuals pursuing a CDL certification in order to get on the highway in this industry.

At the same time, many current drivers are aging out of the profession and deciding to retire. This leads to a shortfall in which there aren’t enough qualified and skilled drivers in the talent pool to replace those who’ve decided that their time has come.

This shouldn’t be a huge frustration though. FATj has introduced a concept called earned wage access in order to provide stability to drivers who find their next career move through the jobswe curate. Earned wage access helps drivers matchup with high quality employers who need steady solutions to their logistics problems, and provide the same stability for their drivers who have much cause for speculation in the current climate.

Another important consideration to make regarding the average age of new and retiring drivers is the access to market analytics that can help you find and approach new shippers to grow your brand's footprint. Over the past decade, new drivers have been split across a few different age groups. This has made the hiring process far more complicated for companies looking to expand their freight volumes. This is because a twenty-something is going to approach the job hunt in a unique manner that diverges from his fifty-something peer.

In addition to a growing truck driver shortage, companies looking to hire enough drivers of excellent caliber are finding it more and more difficult to actually locate the truck drivers who are out there searching for work. This is a priority for us. Understanding that not everyone is seeking out new employment opportunities in the same way is a core feature in our approach to matching drivers with employers. We sift through a series of sites and platforms in order to identify job seekers in different locations and at a variety of ages so that we can help truck drivers get back on the road and employers find the talent they so desperately need.

Driver retention is a key facet of industry growth.

This leads into the next point, and that is the retention of high quality talent in this space. Truck drivers want bonuses, great driver pay, and manageable hours. These industry experts know the roads like no other, and are commodity assets within the employee infrastructure of the companies that they drive for. This makes them a lucrative target for poaching. Competitors and those with suddenly increased driver needs in other industrial markets often look to currently employed drivers, hoping to woo them away from their current business relationships with additional incentives.

This makes driver retention a key factor in growing your footprint in whatever space you trade within. With FATj’s approach to the hiring process, finding top talent that wants to remain loyal to those who treat them well is a prioritized feature in the entire process. We know the importance of driver retention and work hard to impart this feature into both drivers and employers as they begin to foster new relationships with one another. A truck driver who remains within your organization is one that increasingly understands your logistical needs, expectations, and one that continues to build a sense of pride in the work that they are doing.

This is crucial for creating the long term success that will see brands through this current shortage. With these facets in mind, getting through the national truck driver shortage that's gripping the United States doesn't have to be a damaging period in your logistics chain.

Connor Zazzo

Written by Connor Zazzo

Connor is the Marketing Manager for FATj.com, focused on providing valuable insights to help drive forward the hiring efforts of recruitment teams across the country. Interested in reaching out to Connor to learn more about FATj.com? Connect with him on LinkedIn!