Driver shortage and retention have been perennial challenges for the trucking industry. In fact, both driver shortage and driver retention have appeared on the American Transportation Research Institute’s Critical Issues Top 10 list in nine out of the last ten years. In fact, in each of the last four years, driver shortage has been the number one ranked issue, with driver retention never being rated lower than sixth.
Increasing driver pay has long been touted by many as the best way to improve the picture and has become a featured strategy to combat the problem in recent years. This is evidenced by driver compensation making its debut on the list in 2019 at number three and rising to number two, right behind driver shortage, this year. It seems the trucking industry may be at a crossroads. Should trucking continue to rely heavily on driver pay increases, or should it focus on other emerging tactics like positive work cultures, technology adoption, and driver lifestyle issues like health and work-life balance? Time will tell how much more the industry can bear on compensation and what new strategies trucking can develop to entice safe drivers to the industry. Better pay, while important, might not be enough.