Who do you see when you think of a truck driver? If you visualize a white male, aged 35 – 54, with a high school education — you’re pretty close, but it’s changing. Recent statistics show over half of truckers in America are white male, aged 35–54 and 48% have a high school diploma (pdf). (27% have some college)
200,000 plus drivers, 55 and over, will be retiring in the next ten years. The industry is already short an estimated 150,000 drivers. Where will the new drivers come from? Women currently make up 4–5% of the driver work force, or about 200,000 female truckers. A small increase of female drivers could substantially counter the shortage. 14.6 of drivers are Hispanics, and 14.8 are of other ethnicity, both are expected to increase 4–5 % over the next few years.
As of 2005, 31% of drivers had a college degree (pdf). I wonder if more college grads who can’t find work in their discipline will turn more to traditional occupations, such as driving.
Only 4% of drivers are under the age of 25, and that group comprises 10% of the work force. This may be somewhat due to insurance requirements, but only a small increase could impact the current and expected driver shortfall.
We rely on trucking in America for most of our goods, and if we don’t support those who choose this field because they don’t fit our perception of a trucker, the shortage of drivers could affect us all. So, don’t be surprised when your son or daughter completes their BA and announces, “I have a job… driving a truck!”