Both the current administration and trucking companies are trying their hardest to close the shortage of drivers across the country. Wages have been increased, regulations have been rolled back, and there are new movements to pull back or revise the ELD mandate. Diversity in representation may help to change the image of the trucking industry by recruiting nontraditional truckers to build up numbers.
Traditional Truckers and Stereotypes
The image of the classic trucker hasn’t changed much. The demographics still skew towards white males over 40. Efforts to recruit younger drivers did not work out so well. Younger people are less than enthusiastic about making careers in the trucking industry. Additionally, there are still regulations that prevent young drivers from crossing state lines. Meanwhile, the lack of drivers is still growing, forcing companies to try and recruit nontraditional truckers to boost the workforce.
What are Nontraditional Truckers?
Simply put, nontraditional truckers are drivers who fall outside of the dominant demographic. Women. People of color. Newly returning veterans. Trucking companies are actively recruiting from these segments to fill up the lack of drivers. Veterans have new pilot programs making it easier to transition from the military to driving a Class-8 vehicle without all of the red tape of traditional drivers. Women and minorities, tired of the wage gap in other industries, can not only earn a fair living hauling shipments, but the sign-on bonuses and other incentives make for better overall careers.
Changing the Face of Trucking
If recruiting nontraditional truckers has a side-effect, it is that the face of trucking will change. The stereotype of the older white male will go by the wayside. Truckers will be all shapes, colors, ages, and genders. The trucking industry is still successful and poised for growth, provided it can recruit enough new drivers during this economic upswing while offsetting the numbing of retiring truckers leaving the field. And if the bottom line is that nontraditional truckers will lessen the current strain in the industry, and help goods get to where they need to be on time, then maybe the shift in recruiting strategies is long overdue.