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Where Have All the Truckdrivers Gone Featured

The trade industry is not the only career path affected by this generation’s connotation of blue collar jobs. For years it was ingrained in high school students that a college degree was the way to prestige and wealth. In fact, I spent the better part of my twenties convincing people that I had a “real job” in the restaurant industry. As the negative perception spread, the need for laborious jobs increased and entire industries faced a shortage of workers. In an industry that relies heavily on long-haul truck drivers to move goods – the supply chain and logistics business have seen first-hand how far this negative perception can go. According to a report by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) – last year saw 60,000 truck driver positions go unfilled. That number could potentially increase to 160,000 by 2028.

Like the trade industry it’s been increasingly difficult for businesses to attract potential applicates. Truck drivers are subjected to long hours on the road often times by themselves. This solidary lifestyle often times leads to depression and little to no time for a regular life. Most people in their twenties want to hang out with their friends on the weekends. Those in their thirties and forties want the stability of a 9-5 lifestyle in order to raise a family.  

Health issues also come into play. Most long-haul truck drivers stay sedentary for most of their shift which can lead to back and posture problems. Combining fast food and little sleep – the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol increase drastically.

A third issue that the supply chain industry is facing is finding qualified drivers.  Truck driving becomes treacherous if the driver trained properly. Due to insurance and liability most truck driving requirements are rigorous. Not only are businesses short of applicants but their short on eligible applicants with the correct certifications and experience.

One of the main stereotypes of a truck driver is an older white man smoking cigarettes. One of the ways that the trucking industry believes it will solve the shortage is to hire more women and minorities. Jeremy Reymer, the found and CEO of DriverReach told Transport Topics ; “[There is] a lot of opportunity to improve the image of the industry when you add women to the picture.” According to the ATA report as of 2018 only 6% of all truck drivers were women.

Why are there so few women? One of the main reasons is that long-haul truck driving is seen as a “man’s job”. Ellen Voie, president of Women in Trucking Association explains, ““Women don’t picture themselves in a truck or in the industry because they aren’t exposed to successful women who enjoy a great career in trucking.”

This steady need for truck drivers is an issue that the logistics and supply chain industry will need to combat before it starts affecting other segments of the supply chain. Shipping delays are already become more common and are expected to steadily increase. The supply chain and logistics industry will need to figure out how to slow the decline of truck drivers- if not shipping delays If not, the impact will be devastating.   

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 Danielle Loughnane

Danielle Loughnane earned her B.F.A. in Creative Writing from Emerson College and has currently been working in the data science field since 2015. She is the author of a comic book entitled, “The Superhighs” and wrote a blog from 2011-2015 about working in the restaurant industry called, "Sir I Think You've Had Too Much.” In her spare time she likes reading graphic novels and snuggling with her dogs.