Trucking will have “by far” the largest number of job openings in the transportation industry through 2022, according to a new, multi-agency federal report designed to project the industry's employment and skill needs. Combining growth with the number of workers leaving the industry, over 2 million jobs will need to be filled in the trucking segment, and the bulk of that total is for drivers.
The U.S. Departments of Education, Transportation, and Labor worked together and with industry stakeholders to produce the study, which also covers the transit, air, highway, rail and maritime industries.
The report details the future growth areas or employment “hot spots” in transportation by industry subsectors, occupations, career areas, and geographic areas. It also identifies good-paying, high-demand transportation jobs and analyzes the patterns in the education and work experience required for entry, including on-the-job training requirements for new entrants.
Some findings from the study include:
▪ By transportation industry subsector, heavy-duty truck drivers account for one-third of the projected total job openings among the top 20 transportation occupations. Within trucking, heavy-duty and tractor-trailer truck drivers lead by a large margin in total job openings.
▪ High separation and exit rates are a problem throughout transportation. Age has a lot to do with those rates: 54% of workers in trucking are 45 years of age or older, which is 9% above the national average across all industries. Many trucking employees retire early, so the trucking industry will need to counter that with more hiring to replace them in addition to filling worker shortfalls.
▪ Trucking creates job opportunities that help sustain the middle class, an often-stated goal for any healthy economy. Four of the top 10 trucking jobs provide wages higher than the national median wage of $35,540 (heavy truck drivers, truck mechanics, dispatchers, and first-line supervisors of vehicle operators). Having a high school diploma can gain workers entry into many top trucking jobs, although there is a continuing education factor: short-term to long-term on-the-job training is required for nearly all of these jobs.
“Careers in the transportation industry can lift Americans into the middle class or help them stay there, and this report concludes that there will be more job opportunities in the near future,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx. “We want to fill all these new positions, so industry and government must increase recruitment and help young people get the skills, training, and apprenticeships they need to gain entry into these careers.”