The transportation industry is a crucial part of America’s economy, as nearly every industry relies on the goods and supplies that are transported by truck drivers every day.
Over 70% of items consumed are being transported on America’s highways. These products include food, fuel, healthcare supplies and so much more. Without the transport of these basic supplies, the nation would be in some serious trouble.
But how many truck drivers are in the USA moving all that product every day and what is causing the shortage in drivers nation-wide?
How many truck drivers are in the USA?
The US Census states that there are more than 3.5 million truck drivers in the U.S., making driving one of the most popular occupations in the United States. Although this is an impressive percentage of the American workforce, it still isn’t enough.
So, how many truck drivers are needed in the USA to keep the economy afloat?
The American Trucking Association (ATA) has reported the trucking industry will need to hire roughly 1.1 million new drivers in the next decade (or about 110,000 drivers per year) to keep up with the current industry demand.
Why is there a shortage of truck drivers in the USA?
Unfortunately, the shortage in truck drivers isn’t a new concern. The trucking industry has been struggling to find more drivers for the last 15 years. The following are three of the top reasons for the truck driver shortage in the U.S.:
1. An aging workforce
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states the average age of professional truck drivers is 55 years old. That’s roughly 10 years higher than the average age across similar industries like manufacturing and construction. This means there have been more drivers retiring than entering the industry.
Schneider has been working proactively to attract younger drivers by:
- Consistently increasing driver pay.
- Ensuring new drivers get consistent pay through our weekly guarantee pay program.
- Offering significant sign-on bonuses.
- Providing competitive and comprehensive benefit packages.
- Expanding home time options.
- Regularly updating truck fleet.
- Innovating and upgrading technology and equipment.
- Offering Paid CDL training and tuition reimbursement options.
- Helping prospective drivers find driving schools and pre-hiring drivers before finishing school.
2. The need for more female truck drivers
Another factor in the nation-wide driver shortage is the lack of female truck drivers.
So how many truck drivers in the U.S. are female?
Women make up over 50% of the total U.S. population, but Women in Trucking states women only make up approximately 10% of the driving population.
The low number of female drivers is likely due to the stereotype of trucking being a man’s industry, as it is often thought to be a physically demanding occupation. However, upgrades to equipment and changes to the industry have made the truck driving occupation more inclusive.
Schneider has been working to change this stereotype by:
- Providing female trainers for female students during training and driver instruction.
- Offering no-touch freight and drop-and-hook driving opportunities.
- Ensuring equal pay for female drivers.
- Upgrading our fleet to automated transmissions and ergonomics so that women feel comfortable in the truck.
- Expanding home time options.
- Standing by our “Safety First and Always” core value and offering safe equipment and safe nationwide facilities.
- Earning “Top Company for Women to Work for in Transportation” award in 2020.
- Teaming up with Women in Trucking to help educate and provide resources for female drivers or those considering becoming drivers.
- Increasing support and visibility of women in the industry by building a community for female drivers.
3. A unique on-the-road lifestyle
Another stereotype that has negatively impacted the trucking industry is that the trucking lifestyle is challenging. This is why it is important to weigh the pros and cons of the truck driving lifestyle for yourself before you make the decision of becoming a truck driver.
The idea of being on the road for an extended period of time might not seem ideal to everyone, but technological and industry advancements have made the adjustment to life on the road significantly easier.
Schneider has made the truck driving lifestyle more desirable and enjoyable by:
- Expanding our variety of home time configurations to ensure drivers can find the home time they need.
- Encouraging driver health by providing healthy diet and exercise tips on our Slice of Orange blog.
- Providing a sleep apnea program for drivers.
- Sharing educational videos about how to make life easier on the road.
- Upgrading trucks and driver equipment to ensure comfort on the road.
Looking for a rewarding career in a high-demand industry?
The need for new drivers has never been greater and Schneider’s job offers have never been better. Join our team today to help drive the trucking industry forward.
Schneider Guy loves the "Big Orange." He's passionate about the trucking industry and connecting people to rewarding careers within it. He's been the eyes and ears of our company since our founding in 1935, and he's excited to interact with prospective and current Schneider associates through "A Slice of Orange."