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.
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.
Forum - So, about that truck driver shortage.
We've all read that there is a supposed real shortage of truck drivers in North America. So this must mean that there are more goods waiting to be shipped than there are people available to drive them. Is this a correct assumption?
Overdrive: Driver shortage: Where are the empty shelves?
While ATA has played a key role in publicizing the issue, it has never “said or suggested that store shelves are empty or will be in the near future” as a result of any driver shortage.
Joc.com: US trucking industry can’t stop driver exodus, transport institute says
Sluggish pay rises have contributed to the exit of drivers. Although driver pay rose 14 percent from July 2014 through January, that 19-month period of pay increases is actually the shortest recorded in the 22 years the NTI has been keeping track of driver pay.
New York Times: The Trucking Industry Needs More Drivers. Maybe It Needs to Pay More.
But corporate America has become so stingy about paying workers outside the executive suite that meaningful wage increases may seem an unacceptable affront.
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.
Forum - Driver retention rates - do they really matter?
Your first year as a professional driver is gonna be a tough lesson in what it takes to not only survive in this career, but hopefully also in how to thrive as a truck driver. It is tough on everybody
Analyst: Guaranteed driver pay a growing retention tactic, regs to further tighten driver market
Guaranteed pay for truck drivers is becoming a more common driver retention tactic, says the National Transportation Institute’s Gordon Klemp. And for good reason: It works.
YRC opens big rig driving school in Hammond
"The average age in the industry is 51 years, and we're seeing a lot of turnover due to retirements," he said. "With a certain younger demographic, driving isn't as sexy, and that's our challenge: to get to people who aren't already at another company to want to get a CDL."
Forum - High turn over in trucking?
So from reading a few posts here as well as other sites I've found there's a rather high turn over for trucking jobs (which explains the quick hire process) but my question is why? I understand that you're away from home 90% of the year (roughly) and so I know there's a toll on the home life, but is that really the only factor being played here? Or is that just the biggest one with a thousand little ones?
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.
Wiki - Truck driver salary by state.
While there are many other factors to consider than raw numbers when choosing where to work (cost-of-living, climate, family location, etc.), for comparison sake income by state may be one place to start your decision-making.
The most common job in every state 2014
Somewhere along the way the U.S. became a nation of truck drivers
Employment of heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, by state, May 2014
Number of truck drivers employed, as a range, for each state.