Attract more employees and keep on trucking

Tessara Smith, PayScale

There are many industries where employment rates are subject to the major ups and downs of the U.S. economy. However, if there is one slice of the market that is recession proof, it is the transportation industry. Companies want to sell their products and to do so, they have to get them on the shelves, and that requires manpower. Career prospects for this industry have never looked better, and as of now the transportation industry is experiencing a massive growth spurt. The bottom line is that while leaders in other industries have to make tough calls when it comes to cutting salaries and letting people go, companies transporting tangible goods are willing to shell out the money to get their transportation positions filled. There is just one problem; a severe shortage of candidates applying for these jobs.

It goes without saying that being a truck driver is not the most glamorous job on the market but perhaps the lack of workers willing to fill positions is the result of under-advertising. Statistically speaking, employment growth for truckers is shooting upwards at about 3.60% each year but the number of employees ready to start these jobs is not growing anywhere nearly as fast. 

If your company is seeking to attract more talent, the biggest hidden selling point you’re going to want to advocate for when attracting more candidates is job security. We live in troubling times, and having a steady income is of the utmost importance to most workers, especially those who have been the victim of multiple layoffs. Despite long hours on the road and days spent away from home, you need to show future employees that trucking has the potential to be a rewarding position. Pay is good, scheduling is consistent, and there is the option to only work only weekends. The only downside is that the requirements to become a commercial driver can be a bit of a hurdle, but compared to the prerequisites for entering other professions it is nothing too out of reach.

In addition to the pressing need for more drivers, the demand for material movers is also rising rapidly, with PayScale’s data showing employment expanding at a staggering 10.60% each year. This rate is a particularly high one for a low skill set job. Advancements in manufacturing have allowed products to be produced faster and in much larger quantities than ever before. Not only has this created a critical demand for more employees who can deliver products but also for workers who can move merchandise out of the trucks and in to warehouses. The good news is that in response to the high demand for more material movers, it can be expected that minimum wage workers will abandon their old lower level positions in hopes of obtaining a higher paying job moving products out of trucks. There shouldn’t be too much of an issue finding employees to fill open positions here, but your company is likely going to need to rework their compensation strategy to accommodate for a growing work force.

A smaller but still important part of this industry that is also experiencing a significant amount of growth is air transport. Employment growth for airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers has increased to around 5.40%, and more jobs are beginning to open up. Even though air transportation only accounts for a small percent of goods shipped, the value of air cargo is often much higher than those that is transported via truck or rail. Therefore, companies that sell pricey products are beginning to invest more in this efficient and more direct shipping method. It can be expected that growth will continue here, but at some point the air transport sector plateau due to increasing fuel prices and limits in the amount of space available to move products. Regardless of whether or not your company has a substantial air transport department, you may find that you will need more air transport in the new future in response to consumer demand however; filling ground transportation positions should remain a first priority.

Other industries are lagging behind as the transportation industry is blazing full speed ahead. This is wonderful in terms of your company raking in revenue, but filling all of your open positions is going to be a major challenge heading into the next few years. If the job growth rate continues but employment continues to flounder, there is going to be a serious loss of revenue. A strong advertising strategy coupled with a solid compensation plan should be the key to getting more candidates to flock to your company. In the meantime, tracking and logistics software can help you to fill employment gaps to draw in more workers, so business can keep on trucking!

Learn more about salary trends in the US, Canada and the UK by downloading a free quarterly PayScale Index report.



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stephen webster
stephen webster
1 year 11 months ago

i like many other truck drivers only use truck driving as a fill in between construction projects that pay $10.00 per hour more than driving a large truck OTR. today. Do NOT tell the new truck drivers that they will be paid waiting time and not pay it. Many truck drivers are taking former employers to court in Canada and winning back overtime and waiting time.

1 year 10 months ago

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