One of the most pressing issues that fleet managers face is the shortage of truck drivers. While the discrepancy between available drivers and driver demand is nothing new, this trend has only grown increasingly concerning in recent years. Learn about why there is a truck driver shortage and how to improve these circumstances within your fleet.
As a large generation of truck drivers continues to retire out of the workforce, the trucking industry is experiencing a serious labor shortage. The driver shortage is forecasted at 64 thousand drivers in 2023, and is expected to grow to a record high of 82,000 drivers in 2024. This huge gap in driver availability versus demand throws fleets into crisis and necessitates even tighter systems to keep operations streamlined and efficient.
As with labor shortages in any industry, one of the key answers to the question, “Why is there a shortage of truck drivers?” is the disproportionately low pay. Truck drivers take on substantial risk and must live a demanding lifestyle during the days they’re on the road. Driving efficiently and safely requires both skill and focus. Unfortunately, many drivers are not fairly compensated for this level of work and dedication.
One way that fleets can attract skilled and reliable drivers to their fleet is by offering competitive wages and attractive benefits. Retirement plans, medical benefits, and paid time off all help draw top talent to your fleet.
Through the use of technology and thoughtful planning, fleet managers can improve work conditions. Even small improvements can help create a more satisfied staff and a more attractive workplace. Improving work conditions can come down to basic details like mandatory rest periods to ensure adequate sleep. Additionally, fostering open communication between management and drivers can help create a more collaborative and enjoyable work environment.
Strategies for improving work conditions also include implementing GPS systems and other technology that can provide real-time traffic updates for drivers, allowing them to keep their routes as efficient and stress-free as possible. Leveraging mobile fleet maintenance services can also help take maintenance stops off of driver schedules and alleviate the burden of planning routes around a maintenance shop. Instead, with mobile fleet maintenance through Torque by Ryder, the team of professional technicians comes to you!
Another strategy for drawing the best talent to your fleet is to offer education and training opportunities. Without the chance to continue learning and growing in their career, it’s normal for drivers to feel stagnant and bored. By offering training and education opportunities, you can keep your team up to date on the latest technology and best practices while keeping the work day fresh and exciting for your drivers. When workers feel they are progressing in their skill, their work is much more satisfying. Workplaces that invest in the education of their workforce enjoy lower turnover.
Taking stock of the diversity on your team of drivers can help shed light on hiring and recruitment practices that need improvement. The strongest teams consist of drivers from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives; differences make organizations stronger. From hiring drivers encompassing a wide age range to ensuring that your hiring practices open the door for all gender identities and ethnicities, fostering diversity among your drivers can help mitigate the effects of the driver shortage on your fleet.
Staying up to date on nationwide policy and regulations in the trucking industry can help inform which trainings and additional programs you can offer your drivers. In some cases, industry requirements are difficult for drivers to meet, so offering programs to help them meet licensing standards can help make this career path accessible to more potential drivers.
In addition, take the time to examine internal policies, regulations, and procedures to ensure that they are still serving your team as intended. Are your safety protocols effective? Are drivers getting enough rest? Do schedules adhere to legal requirements while also supporting the health and safety of your team? Taking stock of both internal and external policies can help strengthen your systems and bolster your team.
All in all, addressing the shortage of truck drivers comes down to improving the everyday processes of your drivers and your fleet as a whole. From creating better work conditions to implementing policies that make your team safer, there are many ways to address the truck driver shortage within your fleet.
To keep things running as effectively as possible and make the most of your workforce, eliminate the need for trips to the maintenance shop. With Torque by Ryder, a highly skilled technician will service your fleet right at your door. Protect uptime and make your drivers’ lives easier with Torque by Ryder. Get started today.