During the Second World War many North American soldiers were shipped overseas to battle the enemy. That left few to work at home. What happened to manufacturing? It didn’t stop; women took over the building of airplanes, military vehicles, and weapons.
These days we’re facing another shortage of workers, those in the trucking industry, namely drivers. They are leaving trucking for a variety of reasons:
- The average age of truck drivers in North America is said to be around 55 years. That means many are retiring and their numbers are not being replaced quickly enough.
- Ever tightening regulations of the industry is causing drivers to feel they can’t comply and that it’s just a hassle.
- Covid pandemic is making it almost impossible for drivers to find washroom facilities with many businesses closed and others denying access to basic necessities.
- The threat of catching the killer virus weighs heavily on drivers.
- Truck driving is not an easy life. Drivers spend most of their time away from home and are often alone for extended periods. Some get home only a few times each month and are not there for long. If an unresolved issue comes up at home or while on the road it festers in the mind of a driver and won’t go away, adding to the stress of the job.
- Compensation: the US Bureau of Labor Statistics states “the median annual wage for heavy and tractor-trailer drivers was $45,260 in May 2019”. As a result many drivers feel they are underpaid and unappreciated.
Opportunities for Women in Trucking
There are many women working within the North American trucking environment. However, very few as drivers. Women are doing well in trucking businesses in positions such as Human Resources, managers, owners, dispatchers and other office personnel.
However, only 3% of Canadian truck drivers are women and 6% in the United States. That needs to change.
What Your Fleet can do to Offset the Shortage
- Consider hiring more women drivers. Actively recruit them by informing them that the industry rewards them with equal pay for equal work. That’s been the lure for women so far, but it’s not spoken about much.
- Invest in paid training for new hires and make it available to women and men. It’s hard to walk away from a lesser paying but steady job without the benefit of paid training.
- Provide new hires with a mentor to show them the ropes and allay their fears. Most everyone gets the new job jitters. A mentor can become a trusted friend to new hires.
- Present a realistic, comprehensive compensation package that includes such benefits as healthcare for drivers and their families.
- Explain why truck and trailer maintenance is so important and how it helps them to stay safe while on the road. Keep the communication open and upbeat at all times. Introduce them to your shop manager and technicians who will be looking after the equipment.
- Give new hires a chance to choose their desired lifestyle whether long haul, regional, or other.
A Final Word
Keep your shop people happy. Don’t forget about them. Unhappy technicians will share their perceived misfortunes with drivers. When that happens, no one is happy, especially you. Set your shop up to increase productivity and get those trucks back on the road.
Do it by giving your techs the management system that they’ll love using. Give them FleetSquared by BrightOrder Inc. It’s a management system specifically created for small shops servicing and repairing heavy trucks and trailers. And it comes with a 30 day free trial. Just send us an email at BrightOrder.com to start your free trial. You’ll be amazed at how affordable it is.