Study: Improving Truckers’ Pay Could Save Money in the Long Run

nc efi placeholder


A study was conducted showing that the increase in driver wages will help the industry save money in the future. Let’s understand the bottom line.

The study says that the current 6% increase in average truckers’ pay may cause truckers to want to stay in a profession that has always had a fairly high turnover rate, and also save trucking companies money.

The possibility of getting a higher salary usually helps keep workers in any field from looking for a new job. But in the case of trucking, there is an additional need for stability to keep up with the growth in transportation volumes. Also, this wage increase has had a big impact on  how much do truck driver make an hour.

There is now a severe shortage of drivers in the industry. All trucking companies are constantly looking for new employees. To help fill all the vacancies, the Biden administration has announced a plan to recruit and train a new generation of truck drivers to help alleviate supply chain congestion, which has worsened significantly during the pandemic. Such a problem existed long before COVID, but the pandemic has seriously exacerbated it.

Six percent higher wages

Peoples and Stephen Trick are the authors of a study published in Research in Transportation Economics. Its results showed that the average salary of drivers who stayed on the job in 2018 was 6 percent higher, or $2,836 a year, than the average salary of drivers who left the job.

The value of this wage difference is tangibly less than the roughly $3,600 it would cost a replacement driver for a trucking company to replace a driver, which can be recognized as a conservative estimate that takes into account costs including testing fees, referral or registration bonuses, and hiring, orientation and training costs.

The driver shortage has the greatest impact on long-haul routes. This has always been the case and the main reason for this state of affairs is that companies are offering fairly low wages for the work that needs to be done.

Long-haul truck drivers are constantly on the road away from their homes, family and friends. While traveling, they may encounter some not-so-pleasant situations in some parking lots, which may not be the most attractive places to rest. Of course, many of them would like to be paid more for working in such conditions.


Some may prefer to take a break

One theory is that many trucking companies may prefer a high turnover rate because it will keep wages consistently low if they hire new workers.

But the beginning of driver wage increases began even before the pandemic began.

The American Trucking Association said the average wage for a nationally irregular truck driver in 2019 was $58,000, up $6,000 from 2017.

The White House reported that in the past year alone, truck driver wages have already increased by at least 7 percent, though average employment in various segments of the industry remains below pre-pandemic levels. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that the number of truck driver jobs should increase by 6% in the current decade from 2020 to 2030, Most of the projected growth will come from recovery from the COVID-19 recession.

The shortage of drivers could be a record

According to another report from the American Trucking Association, the shortage of drivers in the industry could be a record 80,000 in 2022. Among the main reasons for such a shortage were the high number of retirements of older drivers, problems with truckers’ lifestyles, and a legal minimum age of 21 for commercial driving across state lines, which deprives younger people of work opportunities.

The pandemic has created good conditions for some workers to take temporary leave, think things over and decide they no longer want to work in this environment if they are not properly compensated for their work.

Also, another solution for reducing the driver shortage is to make a traditionally male-dominated profession more comfortable and attractive to women. This could include creating a safer and more supportive environment for female drivers in truck parking lots. According to the Trucking Association, women currently make up only 7 percent of the total number of drivers in the industry.