Hiring Season for Truckers

by Jana Ritter - Published: 11/28/2014

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday upon us, the 2014 holiday shopping season has officially launched. But while shoppers may be busy figuring out how to avoid the trampling crowds or scouring the internet to land all the best deals, trucking companies are busier trying to figure out how to land enough truck drivers to meet the demand. In fact, the current shortage of truck drivers and high retail volume logistical issues is already promising to keep many of this year’s holiday merchandise from arriving on time.

Black Friday

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As seen last year with Amazon’s late Christmas deliveries forcing the company to offer major refunds and discounts, this year is already expected to be impossible for every single retail seller to keep every one of their promised delivery times. While Internet technology has streamlined shopping into a cyber fast track and retail stores are simultaneously stocking up for their busiest season, the reality of shipping still relies on good ole fashioned truck drivers to drive across the country and deliver the goods.

In fact, the American Trucking Associations has estimated that the US is already short 30,000 truck drivers and the numbers are rapidly growing. While there is certainly no shortage of Americans that would be happy to find steady employment, 90 percent of trucking carriers say that the real problem is finding qualified truck drivers who meet the Department of Transportation’s mandatory criteria. In fact, ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello adds that driver turnover at large truckload carriers is actually lower than other difficult years and now the shortage is also a lot to do with the resurging economy and increased business overall.

Companies such as FedEx have already jumped on the ball, investing billions of dollars to accommodate the growth this holiday season. In addition to expansions and opening new facilities around the world, the company is also planning to hire as many as 50,000 seasonal workers to prepare for this year’s volume of holiday shopping.

But for smaller trucking firms that don’t have billions to put into hiring drivers, this season’s high demand of retail deliveries still remains a problem. A problem that extends beyond just the holiday shopping and is expected to remain an ongoing issue for years down the road.

“Today, the industry has in the range of 30,000 to 35,000 unfilled truck driver jobs. As the industry starts to haul more because demand goes up, we’ll need to add more drivers – nearly 100,000 annually over the next decade – in order to keep pace,” Costello adds.

If you ran your own trucking firm, what would be your cure all approach to solving this on-going problem?