What Did a Recent Study on Driver Shortages Find?

If there’s a recurring theme in the trucking industry lately, it’s “there’s a driver shortage.” Recently, the Coyote/Emsi driver shortage study was released, and it addressed this ongoing problem. So what did this driver shortage study find?

Findings From the Coyote/Emsi Driver Shortage Study

If trucking companies want to survive and thrive, they’re going to need to provide more on-the-job training. They’re also going to have to improve driver earnings if they want to compete with similar jobs such as warehousing jobs.

It turns out more people would rather work a warehouse job than drive a truck. At least that’s what the study found. A higher number of job postings for truck jobs are going unfulfilled compared to job listings for other blue-collar work, such as warehousing jobs.

Why could this be? Most likely, people like to live near where they work and they don’t want to be out of town a lot. So, a lot of truckers, for instance, prefer short-haul work compared to long-haul. Why drive across several states, sleeping in your cab, for less money when you can drive across towns or counties, sleep in your own bed at home, and make more money?

Looking at data from 2016-2021, the Coyote study found that one truck driver was hired for every six postings. How does that compare to blue collar jobs? Well, usually it’s one posting for every hire. Long haul truck companies can post all they want, but it doesn’t mean they’re going to attract enough hires as they want to attract.

The Coyote/Emsi study noted that the rise of e-commerce means more short-haul truckers are needed and being utilized than ever before, to the detriment of long-haul trucking’s effort to recruit drivers. Short-haul loads, for instance, have increased by 3 percent year over year.

Meanwhile, the trucking industry is losing potential younger employees to warehousing jobs. If you’re younger than 45 and looking for blue collar work, you’re more likely to choose a warehouse job than a trucking job these days, while the trucking industry appeals more to those over the age of 45 who’ve been in it a while. Warehouse employment is rising and young people are flocking to it.

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