Time Magazine published an article in late 2021 claiming that the truck driver shortage is a fallacy. As a decades-old trucking company, we beg to differ. While their statistics are on point, Time lacks perspective. To clear things up, here’s an insider view on one of the biggest issues plaguing America’s supply chain issues today.
The claim: The driver shortage doesn’t exist.
To start, TIME’s infamous article covered some indisputable basics: America’s supply chain is struggling, leading to frustrating delays over the holidays and ongoing product shortages. The crisis began months ago, and yet our favorite muffin at Starbucks and the new smartphone we saved up for remains stubbornly unavailable.
Many experts have cited a truck driver shortage– the largest we’ve seen in decades, as a strong contributing factor to the recurrent delays, but TIME says it doesn’t exist. To be specific, their article stated that:
- 640,455 people hold active Class A and Class B commercial licenses in California.
- Only 140,000 truck driving jobs are currently listed in the state.
- Only 1% fewer workers were employed in the trucking industry in 2021 than in October 2019, which remains 15% higher than a decade ago.
- California paid $11.7 million to truck driving schools to solve a driver shortage that apparently doesn’t exist.
We can’t argue with statistics. So where’s the discrepancy?
Here’s what TIME got right
The issue is complicated, and driver retention is a major problem. Many drivers get licenses, yet only a fraction of them remain in the industry long term. We love what we do, but we’re not going to sugarcoat it: Trucking can be a tough industry to thrive in, and the type of company drivers work for can make or break their long-term success.
In the 1980s, the industry was deregulated, making it possible for companies to pay drivers like gig workers. Some drivers aren’t paid for the time they spend waiting at pickups and drop-offs, which can take hours. Some drivers have complained of unsafe, highly competitive working conditions, and many drivers leave the scene for more promising prospects. According to TIME, 9 out of 10 drivers at the largest trucking companies quit within a year.
Poorly run companies are part of the driver shortage problem, but it’s not the whole story.
When enough companies subject their workers to harsh conditions and low pay, it gives the entire logistics industry a bad name. TIME, however, missed two major points.
Firstly, running a successful trucking company with integrity isn’t impossible, but it’s not easy. And it’s only getting harder. With consumers now accustomed to virtually instant Amazon deliveries, the system has been inundated with volume it wasn’t built to handle. At the same time, people are reluctant to pay more for shipping. Remaining profitable is tough, and some companies resort to desperate measures. Ultimately, this worsens matters for drivers, trucking companies, and consumers, alike.
Secondly, good trucking companies are out there. BYX offers competitive wages, a full benefits package, Monday-Friday day shifts, and comfortable, well-maintained trucks, plus support staff to take the headache out of scheduling and troubleshooting. We make a point of treating our drivers like we care about them because, well, we do!
Our company began with a single truck which we operated ourselves. We know the challenges of the job firsthand, and we strive to make driving for BYX more enjoyable than ever. Unfortunately, we’re still struggling to fill our open positions.
The reality: Driver shortage or not, finding qualified drivers is nearly impossible right now.
BYX has had driver positions listed for months, yet applications have trickled in like molasses. The root cause of the issue is complex, but the result is frustrating for all the great trucking companies out there.
Despite the frustration, we remain hopeful that we’ll find the right drivers to join our team when the time is right. If that sounds like you, please contact us to learn more about the positions available.