The year 2021 is all about bouncing back. After the major, global disruptions caused by COVD-19 in 2020, businesses and its employees have been working hard to regain their footing. Some industries are readily rebounding while others continue to struggle, and at the heart of it all, the trucking and logistics industry is facing its own specific set of challenges.
Lauded as essential heroes during the onset of the pandemic, truck drivers are now harder to come by, despite industry growth over the past year.
In addition to complications resulting from the ripple effects of COVID-19, the trucking industry is experiencing climbing insurance rates, competing labor markets and other factors that have led to a shortage of truck drivers. Truck driver availability hit a new low this past March, even though the demand for freight has risen.
Labor market competition has also been an issue for the trucking industry. Manufacturing and warehousing jobs are outpacing trucking and logistics in terms of hiring rates. Workers in these industries also skew younger – more than 60 percent of warehousing workers are under the age of 45.
Wage stagnation, workplace safety concerns, trucking lifestyle difficulties and educational barriers to entry are discouraging workers from taking truck-driving jobs during a time when demand for labor in general is high. CDL requirements, which require the investment of time and money, are an additional barrier for many job-seekers.
To combat some of these issues, industry leaders are advocating for competitive wages and support for truck drivers. Some companies have instituted outreach and communication programs for new hires and current drivers alike to help them stay engaged and connected as well as showing them respect and appreciation.
Those who are implementing strategies like this have seen success and lower turnover, according to DC Velocity magazine. Industry leaders are also advocating for predictable schedules and predictable pay. With distribution centers becoming more localized, pay-by-the-mile models are becoming an inefficient way to pay drivers. Salary pay and competitive benefits have also helped some companies hire and keep their drivers.
The trucking and logistics industry remains robust despite these challenges. Millwood and Millwood Logistics will continue to monitor industry news and economic trends in order to keep our readers as updated as possible.