Many freight companies in the U.S. are raising salaries for drivers to attract new ones and retain existing employees, with Alaska leading the numbers.
The National Transportation Institute’s recent survey showed that almost half of the respondents earned a higher pay in 2018. However, Centerline Drivers noted that companies will need to consider hiring a staffing agency to fill trucking job openings, as the shortage is expected to become worse in the future.
Truck drivers in Alaska earned an average annual income of $56,250 in the previous year, according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The median income fared better than the average national pay worth $44,500.
The slim number of long-haul truckers in the state served as one reason for the high salary. There were only 2,640 long-haul drivers as of last year. Still, drivers in other states also had a reasonably large income even with a bigger driver population. In North Dakota, for instance, the average annual salary of 11,000 long-haul drivers amounted to $53,020.
Trucking companies need more than just a bigger pay to solve the shortage of drivers in the country. Based on an American Trucking Associations’ report, the lack of drivers could increase to 174,000 by 2026. The estimated number partly stems from the number of workers who are nearing retirement, with the average age for truckers being 49 years old.
There are several implications for fewer drivers such as higher prices for moving goods, which could eventually be passed on to consumers. Self-driving trucks are considered to be another solution, but the technology still requires more safety tweaks.
Employers need all the help they could get in recruiting new drivers, which is important to prevent further rate hikes. While a bigger paycheck increases the odds of luring new drivers, it’s important to screen applicants and pick qualified candidates.