Truck Drivers Found To Be Getting Biggest Wage Increase In US Job Marketby Jana Ritter - Published: 11/05/2016
According to the US job site Glassdoor.com, truck driver wages increased the most over the last year out of 60 common professions compared. In fact, since last October trucking wages were found to have grown by a whopping 7.8%, which is far more than the overall 2.8% wage growth for all jobs. "We have a booming economy, we're seven years into the expansion and truck drivers are the front line," explains Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor.
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While the overall pay for truck drivers certainly varies by the type of job, distance and employer, the estimated median pay for long haul drivers is at $54,000 per year and according to the American Trucking Association those working for a private fleet can earn up to $73,000 a year. If you compare that to the average salaries for other trade professions such as machine operators at $36,800, construction workers at $36,600 and maintenance workers at $41,179, it appears that long hauling is still the way to go for those who don’t mind the lifestyle.
Of course, the lifestyle factor is actually one of the biggest reasons trucking companies are having more difficulty in recruiting and retaining truck drivers, especially now that work-life balance is becoming a lot more important to Americans. Therefore, it’s no surprise that employers are continuing to offer higher and higher wages as more accumulating factors keep driving up the competition for recruiting new talent. According to the ATA, even in the last few years the overall truck driver shortage has grown from 30,000 drivers in 2013 to a shortage of nearly 50,000 drivers today. Industry experts also say it’s becoming more difficult to bring in younger drivers because of the work schedule demands. Chamberlain also says that with the overall US unemployment currently at a low 5%, trucking companies are even more hard pressed to find new and qualified drivers. "That's going to force companies to hike up wages to get the employees they need," he says.
And despite the recent headlines about autonomous trucks ultimately replacing truck drivers in the future, economists such as Chamberlain say that isn’t going to happen any time soon. Many argue that since the job actually involves more than just driving a truck, it isn’t something that a robot will be able to easily replace. Not to mention that with the economy growing over the last seven years, there continues to be a ton of goods that need to be transported, which is another reason that truck driver wages are going up.