As we’ve shared time and again—trucking is the backbone of America. Without trucking, our food, medicine, and heating fuel aren’t delivered. There would be no clothing at our local Walmart, and our trash would pile up at the curb. Life in America without trucking. Yet many, maybe most, take the industry for granted. And worse yet, some look down on the men and women who deliver our goods. It’s time to take a closer look because the trucking industry in America is facing an overwhelming shortage of drivers and technicians. What to do about the truck driver shortage. Without drivers and mechanics—mom won’t get her medicine, your grocery store won’t receive fresh produce, and garbage will fill the streets. Can you smell it?

What’s behind the shortage?

There are multiple factors, among them, aging and retiring boomers, a disconnect between work and life balance, and a stigma attached to “truckers”. But there’s more to it. Why do some carriers attract and keep drivers and techs, while others are almost always short-handed? In a survey conducted by NRS (National Retail Systems) Solutions to the Truck Driver Shortage, they share many interesting statistics including these two survey questions.

What most attracts you to a job? (Please select up to 3).

  • Salary 79%
  • Home Time 67%
  • Benefits 52
  • New Equipment 47%
  • Location 36%
  • Type of run 32%

What were the top reasons for you leaving your last job? (Please select up to 3).

  • Salary 43%
  • Home Time 28%
  • Equipment 22%
  • Retirement 22%
  • Benefits 21%
  • Type of run 17%

How does this add up?

The top reason drivers leave, or stay, is money. In most industries money is secondary to recognition, team culture, and benefits, but when money is far and away first—a message has been sent.  “The average truck driver in the USA makes $44,000. According to CNN Money, the overall average pay (all jobs) in America is $45,790, which makes $44,000 acceptable, doesn’t it? Not quite. 44K is the average. New drivers often make substantially less — mid to low 30’s or less, and it’s not only the income — it’s what’s expected for the money.” — What to do about the truck driver shortage.

Do the math

Some trucking carriers are ahead of the curve, for example, the Drive Celadon Wagelock Program. Celadon is only one example of many leading edge carriers who are listening and providing drivers what they need and want. In the decade ahead those carriers will thrive while others will fall by the roadside. Are you a trucking carrier? What do you do to recruit and retain drivers? Are you a driver, what’s most important to you?