Where Are All the Good Paying Jobs?
By: Joe Shefchik, PTI VP Business Development and Solutions
Perhaps we’re asking the wrong question about jobs and the workforce. While capacity in the trucking industry has had some solid growth in the past year, there are major headwinds on the horizon. With an electronic logging mandate taking effect in November of 2017 and the Federal Drug Clearinghouse making its way to becoming law, I have strong confidence the trucking industry will once again be struggling to find employees willing to take a job paying from $50,000-70,000 per year.
I have some recent experience that highlights this issue.
It’s February in Wisconsin and my furnace quit over the weekend. I was able to keep the house warm enough until Monday morning. I called 2 local furnace repair shops that serve my brand. Each of them informed me that they were not taking new customers because they don’t have enough service technicians. When I found a shop to come on a service call, the furnace was fixed inside of an hour, the parts were all covered by warranty, and I just needed to pay for the service call and labor. Totaling $295 for about an hour’s work.
With revenue that approached what I might pay for a high priced lawyer, two local employers are not able to find workers to service new customers.
Blue collar workers are well-paid, but still hard to find. I see this trend continuing in American society at large and is likely to hit the trucking industry even harder given the federal regulation the industry faces. Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe highlights this topic in his 2008 TED Talk.* For example, take how truckers are portrayed in popular movies and in memes – a low income, gap-toothed, low-IQ redneck in a “trucker hat.” It’s no wonder there are fewer electricians and fewer truck drivers. Rather than honorably portraying these skilled workers who perform services we need, we face a shortage because of the perception that it’s not what anyone could possibly be passionate about – it’s not “sexy” or considered desirable.
Our reality is this: We have teachers who turned to trucking because they needed a better income. We have nurses who left their jobs for trucking because they wanted better hours and better pay. And yes, we have drivers whose fathers drove before them because driving is their legacy and they know trucking is a reliable job to provide for what matters most: family.
For that reason, Paper Transport, Inc. continues its commitment to creating a great place to work where the best people deliver for our customers. We treat and pay our drivers like the highly-skilled, hard-working professionals they are. We believe in the future, as in the past, the company with the best drivers wins. We intend to be that team.