driver-shortageThe low national unemployment rate – which was only 3.7 percent in September – means that employers in all industries have to work extra hard to compete for talent. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the trucking industry.

Demand for freight is high. According to the American Trucking Association, freight volume is expected to increase by 4.2 percent in 2018. This is not a temporary trend, either. By 2029, freight volume is expected to increase by 35.6 percent.

At the same time, the industry is struggling with high turnover and an aging workforce. According to The Street, this has led to a shortage of 60,000 to 100,000 drivers, and the situation is expected to get worse. Moving companies will have to up their game to find the drivers they need.

Offer Competitive Pay and Benefits.

According to Business Insider, rising freight demand has led to an increase in wages. The National Transportation Institute found that 46 percent of truckers received wage increases in 2018, compared to only 11 percent in 2017. Despite this, wages are still significantly lower compared to inflation-adjusted wages in the 1970s.

If employers want to attract new drivers, they need to offer something attractive. In addition to a competitive salary, it’s also smart to offer a healthy benefits package. This could include health insurance and a retirement plan, as well as paid parental leave, paid vacation and a wide selection of voluntary benefits.

Think Outside the Box.

When you think about a truck driver, you might imagine a pretty stereotypical image. It’s time to look beyond that.

Although women account for nearly half of the U.S. workforce, women made up only 6.2 percent of truck drivers and driver/sales workers in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hiring more women seems like an obvious way to hire more workers.

Unfortunately, there are obstacles. In an article published in Trucks, the president of Women in the Trucking Association explains that the industry often makes things difficult for women. Truck cabs are designed for men, for example. Even worse, some trucking schools require women to bunk with men during training – a deal breaker for many.

Don’t Compromise on Safety.

Fatal crashes involving big trucks increased by 9 percent in 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. This increase occurred even as fatal crashes started to decrease for all vehicles overall.

In 2016, 918 truck drivers and driver/sales workers died on the job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This represents a tragic loss, and it could be scaring potential workers away from the industry.

In the pursuit of more drivers, safety cannot be compromised. Drivers must be trained to operate vehicles safely. They should always use a seat belt, and they should never drive when drowsy, distracted or impaired.