Currently, there are a number of job opening in the trucking industry for qualified drivers. Unfortunately, there is a big lack in the number of qualified drivers applying for these positions. While the heads of various trucking companies are claiming qualified drivers do not exist from the current talent pool, it may be driver pay that’s keeping people from applying.

The Current Driver Pay Model

Right now, driver pay is the same as it has been for decades. Truckers get paid by the mile to deliver shipments. If they are stuck in a storm for hours, they still get paid by the mile. If they are stuck waiting for a trailer to be unloaded, and end up having their schedule thrown off to pick up the next load, the pay is still by the mile. It is not that the talent is there to fill qualified positions. Many truckers simply don’t see the driver pay balancing out their work.

Truckers Are More Than Drivers

Truckers are more like pilots than they are drivers, in today’s industry. ELDs, monitoring GPS systems, keeping in constant communication with both the fleet and the customers, tracking traffic and weather systems, and more mean drivers need to have more technical skills and training. Being paid per mile is not appealing, given all that goes into transporting a shipment. With self-driving trucks still on the back burner, pending development and legislation, having a human being with the skills in the cab to get a shipment from one point to another is in high demand. So what is being done to overhaul the current model for driver pay?

Some Companies Are changing Driver Pay

Shipping companies such as FedEx, are switching to hourly pay. Other companies are offering a choice of payment packages. Wal-Mart, the highest paying company, does still offer driver pay by the mile, but there are also bonuses for extra duties performed while drivers are on the road. With some drivers making the same as they did in the 1980s, driver pay reform has to start somewhere, because truckers are not able to meet the increase in the cost of living since the Reagan Era.

With truckers needing more technical skills to drive, and more congested roads putting drivers at risk, the industry is taking a hard look at driver pay, and how it can be improved. The trucking industry is in need of qualified drivers, and the compensation should reflect the skills required to entice people to sign on with fleets.