Over the next decade, the U.S. tracker shortage is expected to double as the industry struggles to fill hiring quotas, according to Bloomberg. Starting in the mid-2010s, the trucker shortage has grown from a small obstacle to a problem that threatens to stop the shipping industry in its tracks if not stopped soon. Some companies are putting their hopes into technology to solve this deficit, however – believing autonomous trucking may potentially be a solution to this problem.
Not enough truck drivers
It is no surprise that this shortage is expected to double by the end of the decade. In 2018, approximately 51,000 additional truck drivers were needed to fulfill duties for shipping giants like Amazon or UPS, according to The Washington Post , and this number has only grown since. The issue of the shortage is multifaceted: With the economy doing well, there is an increasing demand for truckers, but with unemployment so low, prospective employees are few.
The job can be tough and unglamorous, and there are several barriers to entry – such as becoming licensed to drive large, high-tonnage trucks – that limit the flow of applicants into the industry. But of course, there's another major factor on the horizon – autonomous trucking. With the advent of this new technology, many people don't see a point in training to become truck drivers if they are just going to be replaced by computers in the near future.
And indeed, these fears are not entirely unfounded. Many companies are investing in or researching autonomous trucking technologies to solve the shortage altogether by simply erasing the need for truck drivers in the first place. Chinese company Plus.ai recently completed a cross-country truck delivery, the first of its kind: A self-guided truck delivered sticks of butter to Pennsylvania from California, according to Popular Mechanics. Other companies, such as Alphabet (parent company of Google) and Amazon are also testing their own autonomous trucking technologies.
With self-driving trucks in play, the need for truckers all but disappears, as does the difficulty of navigating labor compliance laws, such as restricting drivers from operating vehicles for more than a certain amount of time. It's easy to see just why self-driving trucks are such a popular solution to the trucker deficit issue.
YES Partners has the worldwide reach, expertise and diverse breadth of services to help shipping and logistics organizations in their efforts find the tech executives they need to excel in an economy frequently inundated by new technologies like autonomous driving. To see some of the roles that YES Partners has already successfully placed, click here.
Finding people is easy, but finding the RIGHT people is not. YES Partners helps companies FIND the right people for all company functions, across many industries.