According to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), “a challenging future” is in store for the trucking industry, as an aging workforce will likely further the driver shortage challenges.
ATRI today released a white paper that “highlights a challenging future for the trucking industry based on demographic data and a dramatic shift in the age of the industry’s driver workforce. The findings document implications for the ongoing driver shortage.”
The white paper states, that based on U.S. Census data, the trucking industry is “disproportionately dependent on employees 45 years of age or older” and many in the industry plan to retire in the next 10-20 years.
“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.”
“A variety of reports and anecdotal information confirm that the average age of truck drivers is older than the average age in many other sectors of the U.S. workforce,” ATRI’s white paper states.
To further complicate this matter, there has been a sharp decrease in young drivers entering the trucking industry over the past two decades, ATRI says.
The ATRI white paper states that the “single biggest obstacle” is attracting younger drivers to the industry and that the federal government currently requires prospective drivers to be 21 or older to obtain their CDL. “The resulting three-year post-high school gap precludes many from considering a career in truck driving,” ATRI states.
By 21, most have either entered into college, trade school or began work in another career or industry.
A copy of the white paper is available from ATRI’s website at www.atri-online.org.
ATRI is the trucking industry’s 501(c)(3) not-for-profit research organization. It is engaged in critical research relating to freight transportation’s essential role in maintaining a safe, secure and efficient transportation system.