Millennials are now the largest demographic segment of the workforce. This generation, which consists of those born from 1981-1996, is primarily defined as the first generation to grow up with access to modern technology, particularly the internet. This, along with other factors, has caused them to have different requirements, expectations and desires as they search for jobs. And with booming industries like tech and engineering tempting millennials with large salaries and room for growth, many have never considered a career in commercial truck driving.
However, with the trucking shortage leaving many driving jobs unfilled each year, companies are willing to make truck driving worth a job hunter’s time. Here are a few reasons why millennials should consider becoming truck drivers.
Stereotypes are Changing
The truck driving industry has a lingering reputation of only being suitable for brawny men with long beards who practically live in their trucks. However, this stereotype is long overdue for a makeover. The days of heavy lifting and hard to maneuver big-rigs are in the past. You don’t need extra muscle to be a truck driver, which is one reason why trucking is now a career enjoyed by women all over the country. Trucks now have more luxurious cabs with power steering, state-of-the-art technology, and everything from hood releases to dollies are now hydraulic. Everything works with the push of a button, which means the world of trucking is more accessible than ever before.
Because more and more women are becoming truck drivers, new safety priorities are being established, which are changing the way trucks are designed and the trucking culture as a whole. Trucks can now come with their own private bathroom units and security systems, and truck stops are no longer exclusively full of male truckers.
The Trucking Demand Means Competitive Wages
According to Jon Gilbert of PLG Consulting, “The average age of commercial truck drivers is 55 and rising rapidly. The concern is that older, qualified truck drivers are retiring, and we are not getting adequate replacement drivers.”
As the age of truckers rises, more and more trucking jobs are becoming available. This increased need for truckers is only making starting salaries increase as well. In 2017, the average starting wage for a trucker was around $40,000 per year. Truckers are also typically offered excellent benefits including 401Ks and healthcare. And while $40,000 may be the starting salary, there is plenty of growth in the industry. Some truckers even make upwards of $80,000 based on experience and mileage.
Advancements in Autonomous Vehicles
While many people have feared that autonomous vehicles may cause truckers to lose their jobs, the opposite is actually the case. In fact, advancement in AI in the trucking industry would only make truckers’ lives easier by solving any problems they may currently be facing.
Autonomous vehicles will still require drivers to be alert and present in the vehicle at all times. However, with advancements such as platooning, which links trucks together via WIFI to reduce fuel consumption and accidents, drivers would not have to be as active in controlling the vehicle. This would allow drivers to not become mentally exhausted after long hours behind the wheel, and most importantly, it would mean their jobs were safer.
Truck Driving Requires Minimal Requirements
Unlike most jobs that have starting salaries around $40,000, commercial truck driving does not require an expensive college degree. To become a trucker, one only needs to complete an accredited training course. These trucking schools typically cost between $3,000 and $7,000, which is far less than a four year degree. Additionally, it does not take long to become a qualified driver. The average school will only take seven weeks to complete, meaning a new trucker can be out on the road within a few months of making a career change.
One concern the trucking industry faces when it tries to recruit young people right out of high school is current law against interstate travel. Currently, truckers must be at least 21 years old to travel over state lines. This means that people hoping to become truckers out of high school must only drive within their state for a few years before getting to take the higher paying, cross country trips.
However, lawmakers have recently started taking steps to reduce the interstate age to 18. This change is a direct response to the shortage of truckers. If this new law passes, many trucking companies, restaurants, and retailers believe it would put more truckers on the road and increase the efficiency of goods being delivered across the country.