Canada short 25,000 truck drivers by 2023: report

Canada is expected to be short 25,000 truck drivers as early as 2023, representing a 25% increase over the unfilled vacancies in 2019, Trucking HR Canada reports.

Unfilled jobs in 2018 are also estimated to have cost the trucking industry about $3.1 billion in lost revenues, slowing planned expansions by 4.7%.

The findings — outlined in The Road Ahead: Addressing Canada’s trucking and logistics industry labor shortage, a study produced in a partnership with the Conference Board of Canada — are particularly troubling when compared to other business sectors.

“Canada is facing a serious shortage of truck drivers,” says Kristelle Audet, principal economist with the Conference Board of Canada. Since 2016 alone, the number of truck driver vacancies has more than doubled.

Canada’s trucking industry faced an average job vacancy rate of 6.8% last year – double the Canadian average of 3.3% and higher than all industries outside crop production. Longhaul truck driving jobs faced a 9.4% average vacancy rate. And while truck drivers represent 46% of the industry’s overall employees, they accounted for 63% of the sector’s job vacancies.

Sixty-one percent of the 352 employers surveyed by Trucking HR Canada last fall said they have had trouble filling truck driver vacancies in the last year.

While the number of truck drivers has increased by more than 80,000 people in the past two decades, the rate of increase has slowed to an average of 4,100 drivers per year over the past decade, compared to 5,500 per year over the previous decade.

Identified factors behind the current labor shortage include an aging workforce, misconceptions about the industry among women and youth, and a high turnover rate.

According to Statistics Canada’s 2016 Census, 32% of truck drivers were 55 or older, compared to 21% of the labor pool as a whole.

Canada’s trucking and logistics workforce

300,000 drivers

90,000 shippers and receivers

70,000 courier service drivers

40,000 managers, supervisors, administrative staff

38,000 material handlers at warehouses and distribution centers

9,000 accounting personnel

*Source: Trucking HR Canada