With groceries and stores running out of stock because of panic-buying, the need for truckers has become quite apparent. Truckers brave the pandemic, crossing states to deliver essential supplies, but there are simply not enough of them.
Truckers Keep on Trucking
Like healthcare and emergency workers, truckers don’t get a reprieve from the global pandemic. As supplies dwindle, truckers are mobilized to restock groceries and hospitals with much-needed stock. The increased demand for transportation and shipping also highlights the need for more drivers.
The trucking industry has been running on a skeleton crew, with most companies understaffed and struggling to fill their ranks. New drivers are hard to come by, increasing the load on current drivers.
A Vulnerable Workforce
Truckers are one of the oldest workers in the nation. The average age of truck drivers is 55, and the majority of them are past that. Older truck drivers fit the demographic most vulnerable to the pandemic, but driver shortage and increased demand for trucking keep them on the road. Long hours, fatigue, and unconventional sleeping arrangements also lead to decreased immunity, which translates to a higher risk of infection. Of course, social distancing is not a big issue since truckers most often work alone.
However, the pandemic brings to light the need for new drivers, especially since a good number of drivers will be retiring within a decade. Talks of automation have dissuaded potential drivers from entering the industry as doomsayers predict the loss of trucking jobs soon.
Still, automation predictions have fallen flat as industry leaders and the companies behind the production of automated trucks assert that trucks will always require drivers. Research into automation focuses more on regulating cruising speeds for fuel efficiency, and onboard AI can only take over in clear stretches of highway with little to no traffic.
Clear Roads for New Drivers
Trucking companies and staffing agencies are always on the lookout for new drivers. Wages have spiked during the past years, and a fresh recruit can start earning wages of $55,000 on the get-go. Of course, one has to meet the requirements: a commercial driver’s license, a bit of in-house training, and an age requirement of 21 years.
Wages can skyrocket to $80,000 within a year or two as long as you work diligently and maintain a clean record. Companies are also offering bonuses for signing up, meeting schedules, staying with the company, and even getting a good result in your physical exam. With the advent of “automated” trucks, you’ll also have an onboard autopilot that can take over the wheel once you reach specific points on the highway.
With more drivers retiring in a few years and the government keen on bringing back manufacturing to the USA (in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic), expect even better treatment for new and existing drivers in the future.
Trucking keeps various industries rolling and is an essential part of modern life. It’s also a viable career choice — one that pays exceedingly well and requires very little training.