TSQ: What is a fair wage for truck drivers these days?
March 1, 2012
BRADFORD, Ont. – While there is some debate over the severity – or, according to some, the existence – of the driver shortage, there is little question that the trucking industry continues to struggle in its attempts to...
BRADFORD, Ont. – While there is some debate over the severity – or, according to some, the existence – of the driver shortage, there is little question that the trucking industry continues to struggle in its attempts to attract new driving talent. The reasons behind the employment pool’s standoffishness to the profession includes everything from over-regulation to long hours away from home, but one of the most significant issues may be poor pay.
A recent US study found that in order to make truck driving more attractive, average salaries would have to rise to $60,000 per year, despite the fact that current wages hover around the $48,000 mark.
So what annual wage would be enough to attract and retain truckers?
We posed the question to drivers at the Husky Truck Stop in Bradford, Ont.
• Ron Serink, a driver with Robinson Haulage out of Kilworthy, Ont., says he thinks a decent wage would be around the $50,000 mark for a freight hauler. However, the 40-year veteran says that drivers these days need to do more to earn their stripes as much as earn their pay.
“Training for truck drivers is very poor,” he told Truck News. “Driving schools have the guy doing his exam on an empty trailer and when he’s on the highway he is completely lost.
“It should be an apprentice program and you work your way up. Years ago, when I was a kid, I mean you started driving a small truck on your dad’s farm or whatever it was. A straight truck and then you did shunting and then you finally went to a tractor-trailer. I mean nowadays they just get into a tractor-trailer.”
• Brad Minne, a driver with Keystone Western in Ile-des-Chenes, Man., says he thinks wages are “pretty average” these days, and would like to see them rise to the $60,000-$70,000 range for long-haul drivers.
“That would kind of compensate for loss of family time and stuff like that,” he says.
However, Minne says he believes the driver shortage is something that will never end – pay increase or not.
“This is an acquired taste, driving a truck,” he says. “It takes a certain person to do it and, unfortunately, that (breed) is dying.”
• James Morgan, a driver with Fidel Transport out of Brampton, Ont., says the current pay situation for regional truck drivers is “a shame.”
“In the last 15 years, truck driving salaries have not increased. I was looking at my first driving job that I had and it was paying $18 an hour,” he says.
“Now this is 2012 and nowhere in the industry for a regional or local job (will you) make over $18 or $19 an hour. Now isn’t that a shame?”
Morgan says he’d like to see wages for pickup-and-delivery drivers be a set rate in the range of $22-$23 per hour.
• Dan Dusome, a driver with Robtrans Systems out of Innisfil, Ont., says that while the industry seems to be a “mixed bag” in terms of pay scales, he thinks the $50,000-$60,000 range would be fair.
However, Dusome says the industry needs to do more to account for unforeseen problems like detention time. “Stuff like that really burns into your income,” he says.
“If you can’t get to a dock and unload it quickly you are sitting there for free a lot of times. That’s hard to take for drivers if it’s happening on a consistent basis.”
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