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The Complete Guide To A Career In Trucking

Are truck drivers in high demand?

A chart symbol showing increasing demand for truck drivers

With an estimated 1.6 million drivers moving around 70% of the total freight in the U.S., trucking is an enormous industry with enormous manpower requirements.

The astronomical turnover rate (over 100% in some companies), along with a perceived driver shortage means that there is always a place for safe, effective drivers in the industry.

What is the truck driver shortage? Is it really a thing?

An apparent shortage of drivers has been lurking in the industry news for a few years, now. "Shortage of drivers" could probably more accurately read "shortage of qualified drivers". Many new drivers, aside from being barely-trained to drive, are ill-prepared for what the trucking lifestyle is really about. The inability or unwillingness of trucking companies to keep driver salaries on pace with the rest of the workforce is also a big part of the shortage.

Hearing the phrase "driver shortage" thrown about so much also sometimes leads new drivers to believe, wrongly, that they will be treated like kings and given wide leeway when it comes to performance or conduct, which just helps to raise the turnover rate, in the end.

Does the trucking industry have a high turnover rate, and how should it concern me?

The trucking industry does have an exceptionally high rate of driver turnover. This is due to a combination of reasons, including poor training and preparation, drivers who are ill-fitted for the lifestyle and the job, and especially low pay.

Driver pay increases, though rising, have not kept pace in comparison with average pay for all occupations in the U.S., and the gap is now at around a 10-year high of 12%. Experienced and safe truck drivers can earn an excellent wage, but many drivers come to find that it just isn't worth it.

How is the demand for drivers affected by location or state of residence?

In short, not all companies will hire from every state. Many companies run more regional freight lanes that require drivers to live near a terminal, or in a specific state. Demand and wages will also vary state-to-state.

Additionally, some states, like Florida, are notoriously short on freight, making it more difficult to get hired there.

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