When you think of a long-term career, a truck driver job may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, contrary to what many people believe, now is a better time than ever to consider a lucrative career in the trucking industry. There are several variables that come into play here, and together, they create a perfect environment for making a transition into a truck driver role, or starting for the first time.
With a high shortage of drivers, low barrier to entry, record high pay, increased safety measures, and job security, there’s plenty to consider. Here’s how these reasons help make a career in the trucking industry ideal in today’s economy:
- High Shortage of Drivers
There are records numbers of job shortages in the trucking industry. The American Trucking Association found that this year, there was a shortage of a whopping 63,000 drivers. The ATA also found that the industry would need over 90,000 drivers over the next decade to compensate for the demand, and at the current rate, it doesn’t appear to be plausible—unless non-drivers start becoming aware of the potential in the trucking industry.
- Low Barrier to Entry
Unlike many high-paying industry, the trucking industry has a very low barrier entry, especially today, where drivers are needed more than ever. Instead of placing too much emphasis on trucking experience, even newbie drivers are finding it easier than ever to start a new career. While in some positions, a college degree might help, it’s most often not a requirement. Getting your license and having a clean record is what’s most important.
- Record High Pay
With a major driving shortage, you can expect a driver’s salary to be quite high, compared to other industries. Because the demand in freight shipping is growing, trucking companies are competing to meet those demands. Over the next five years, revenues for truck drivers are expected to grow 3% each year. For drivers with no experience, the trucking industry provides some of the highest starting salaries. According to the Labor Department, the median truck salary is around $43,000. However, the salary gets higher quicker, especially with a great driving record and experience.
Other studies have shown even better numbers. For example, the job search site Indeed conducted a study that analyzed data points across 6.5 million employees and job ads from trucking companies over a 2 year period, and found that the average truck salary on the Indeed platform was $64,000. And according to the American Trucking Association, the median trucking salary for private companies was even higher, at $73,000.
- Higher Level of Safety
Trucking companies are committed to ensuring their truck drivers are as safe as possible on and off the road. All operators are held responsible for their drivers, The Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, run by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), is designed to hold everyone to the highest standards. While drivers have their own records, all carriers have special CSA scores that help determine exactly how safe they are as a business entity. Understanding CSA scores might seem complicated, but with a little research, it’s fairly straightford. Part of what goes into a company’s CSA score are their cumulative driver records, Vehicle Maintenance, driver fitness, Hazardous Materials Compliance, etc.
- Job Security
The trucking industry is one that especially values good workers. If you always show up for your route on time, follow all safety protocols, and stay accident-free, your job is highly secure. Unlike other industries, you don’t have to worry about someone taking a promotion above you or getting laid off. With such a shortage, truck drivers are very valued, and their work doesn’t go unnoticed. Replacing a great truck driver today is extremely difficult.
Another reason the trucking industry provides a higher level of job security is very simple: trucking jobs aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, not only are truck drivers in demand, but critical to the American economy.
A report published by the ATA stated, “Our economy depends on trucks to deliver ten billion tons of virtually every commodity consumed—over 80 percent of all freight transported annually in the U.S. In the U.S. alone, this accounts for $700.4 billion worth of goods transported by truck.” Consider this: In 2017, just over 15 billion tons of goods was transported. That number is predicted to grow by nearly 37% over the next decade. This means that not only will truck drivers become more value—but a necessity. Analysts believe that if the trucking industry is not adequate, or came to a halt, the American economy would halt, too.