The future of the trucking industry’s ability to maintain a stable driver pool will continue to be a challenge as the industry’s driver workforce undergoes a dramatic shift in demographics, according to a new white paper released by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI).
The findings, which echo Canadian demographic trends highlighted by the Conference Board of Canada’s landmark study on this issue, document further implications for the ongoing driver shortage across North America.
ATRI’s analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data found that the trucking industry is disproportionately dependent on employees 45 years of age or older, many of whom will retire in the next 10-20 years. Complicating this is a sharp decrease over the past 20 years in the number of younger drivers that make up the industry, particularly those 35 and under.
“The average age of our current driver workforce is 52 and we’re noticing fewer and fewer younger individuals applying for jobs in recent years,” said Keith Tuttle, Founder, Motor Carrier Service, Inc. and a member of ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee. “If the industry doesn’t collectively figure out how to recruit younger drivers, we may not have anyone left to haul freight in the coming decades. With more and more of the nation’s freight being hauled by trucks now and in the future, this is a piece of the puzzle we have to solve.”
The report discusses the issues impacting the industry’s ability to attract younger drivers, and offers solutions to the problem including an increased vocational presence for the trucking industry and closing the gap between high school and CDL eligibility.
A copy of the white paper can be requested at ATRI’s website at www.atri-online.org.