According to a recent analysis from the American Trucking Association (ATA), the OTR Truckload industry is one area where employers are expected to face a huge labor shortage of as much as 175,000 by 2024.
There are many reasons for the current driver shortage, but one of the largest factors is the relatively high average age of the existing workforce. The current average driver age in the OTR (Over-the-Road) TL (Truckload) industry is 49. In addition, the industry has historically struggled to attract all segments of the population as just 5.8% of truck drivers are women. This share has been essentially unchanged over time.
In 2014, the trucking industry was short 38,000 drivers. The shortage is expected to reach nearly 48,000 by the end of 2015.
If the current trend holds, the shortage may balloon to almost 175,000 by 2024.
Per the ATA, replacing retirees accounts for nearly half of the 890,000 new drivers that will need to be hired over the next 10 years. Of course, one problem is that, like most other “main street” jobs, real annual wages for truck drivers have actually declined over the past 10-15 years.
But as Steve Viscelli, a sociologist and fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Robert A. Fox Leadership Program, points out, the real wage deflation for truck drivers is massively underestimated by the grueling nature of the industry’s owner-operator model that consistently demands more from drivers without pay increases.