Because of the pandemic, so many items are in shortage: toilet paper, computer chips, sanitizer and even ketchup. Strangely enough, there is a driver shortage too. Now, American truck drivers are getting big pay hikes, but there is still a shortage of them.
There have been a lot of online delivery services because of the pandemic, and therefore, there is more demand for drivers. According to CNN, this means “increased competition for those willing to be long-haul truckers, forcing those trucking companies to hike pay. But that hasn’t persuaded enough people to take the long-distance driving jobs that the industry needs to fill”.
These pay hikes are actually prompting many drivers to transfer from one company to another, instead of encouraging them to drive. Of course the drivers appreciate the acknowledge the pay hikes, but they are simultaneously on the lookout for other jobs being offered elsewhere, Daniel Walton, a 47 year old truck driver at Roehl Transport explains. He continues, “Everybody loves getting more money,” said Walton. “You hear numbers thrown at you, there is a temptation to go elsewhere.” Walton had friends move to jobs that had more regular routes and leisure time for the workers to spend at home.
With that being said, the higher pay rates are having the opposite effect on the drivers. Tim Norlin, Vice President of driver employment at Roehl explains that many drivers are actually using this opportunity to cut down on their driving. They would rather spend more time at home.
As a domino effect, trucking companies are boosting pay to keep their drivers in the company. According to CNN, “Roehl put in place its second pay increase of this year [this week], which together should increase driver pay at the company about $4,000 to $6,000 a year, or about 9% to 11%”. “We have to offer that addition[al] pay to be competitive,” Norlin added. Another company called CR England had their third pay hike in the last three years, so now the drivers are paid more than 50% more compared to 2018. “Our customers have been very understanding that it’s necessary to raise rates,” Norlin stated. “I could literally hire 500 to 1,000 more drivers — we have the business offerings from customers to keep them busy.”