Public perception of truck drivers hasn't shifted drastically since Burt Reynolds' 1977 hit Smokey and the Bandit, despite the industry itself changing quite a bit. As a result, "The driver shortage is as real as it was in 2017," says Shelley Simpson, executive vice president of J.B. Hunt Transport Services.
On top of the challenges of finding new drivers, transportation employers are having trouble keeping their already employed drivers.
The industry has a less than 8% annual employee retention rate, which means that even if you find a qualified candidate and hire them for a transportation or logistics job, the odds are low that they will stay with your company for more than a year.
The result? You'll be trying to fill the same position again in no time at all.
So how can you find candidates that last?
Keep reading to find out.
Recruitment Challenges in the Transportation and Logistics Sectors
Like being a construction worker or plumber, transportation and logistics jobs have the potential of paying relatively well without requiring a college education. Despite this relatively straightforward path to a great career, not many youths are pursuing this option. Whether this is an industry-wide marketing problem or a cultural problem, the fact remains that the pipeline of qualified candidates is not large enough to fill current and forecasted demand.
As a result, today's average age of a truck driver is 55, which is trending upwards.
It is also not as simple as finding young adults and hiring them. Drivers must be 21 to cross state lines, meaning that many high school graduates may have started other career paths by the time they become eligible to drive a semi, however, it's worth noting, there are efforts underway to lower this age to 19-20.
A Commercial Drivers License (CDL) is also required, which costs up to $6,500 to acquire, considering the training classes. Together, these present significant barriers to entry for new drivers when compared with other career paths.