Wages of $100,000 a year and a signing bonus are now commonplace in job offers for truck drivers, a key part of solving the country’s major supply problems.
The trucking industry has responded to the shortage of truck drivers in places like Los Angeles and Long Beach, port cities in California that have seen their docks fill up with goods due to the lack of workers to unload and move products.
This collapse has, in turn, led to the emergence of six-figure offers in other port cities, such as San Francisco (California), Houston (Texas), Miami (Florida) or New York, which are now receiving more imports at their docks and need hands to transport them.
In total, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates that the industry is currently facing a shortage of approximately 80,000 truck drivers, according to a report provided to Efe by the organization.
Where are all the truckers?
There are several reasons for this situation. Starting with the lack of activity for truck drivers who worked unloading ports and were out of work when the economy came to a complete standstill because of the pandemic, according to the faculty director of the Center for Global Management at the University of California, Los Angeles, Professor Christopher Tang.
“Those drivers they changed professions back then because they didn’t have a job and now that the economy is picking up and imports have grown, we don’t have enough carriers,” explained Tang, author of the book “Managing Supply Chain Risk.”
In addition, the expert pointed out that driving schools for this type of trucks were closed for much of the beginning of the pandemic, also causing the absence of new drivers, a problem that persists today.
In this context, Tang noted that companies in the trucking industry have been forced to generate monetary and working condition incentives, such as improving leaves, insurance, and schedules, to attract old and new truck drivers.
Six-figure offers for truckers
Companies such as McLane Southern California in Los Angeles, Distributor Sysco in Miami, or Texas Transeastern in Houston, among others, offer on their websites salaries of more than $100,000 and bonuses between $10,000 and $20,000 at signing.
In addition, these offers promise their potential workers that they will “sleep almost every day at home,” have an attractive pension plan and drive new trucks.
Another company, U.S. Xpress, based in Chattanooga (Tennessee), claims to offer the best pay for drivers in the country: $200,000 a year and a $30,000 signing bonus.
These figures represent an increase of at least 50 % in truck driver salaries in the United States in the last year, according to data from the Indeed job portal.
“This is a very good time to be a truck driver and you have to take advantage of it,” Gio Marz, a trucker and director of operations for the freight forwarding company Atlas Marine, told Efe.