Canada was short a record 28,210 truck drivers in the second quarter of this year, up from 25,560 in Q1, Statistics Canada data revealed. This pushes up the vacancy rate for truckers in Q2 to 9.2%, up from 8.1% in Q1.
Labor woes in the trucking and logistics sector continue to grow, Trucking HR Canada said in a report that analyzed the information. Over half of those vacant jobs (50.1%) have been posted for more than 90 days which indicates employers are having difficulty filling these positions.
“The release of Q2 vacancy data from Statistics Canada continues a worrying trend that vacancies within the industry continue to worsen. This will continue to put pressure on the industry to meet its labor force needs in order to meet demand,” said Craig Faucette, chief programs officer at Trucking HR Canada.
Statistics Canada data for the second quarter of 2022 was released on Sept. 20.
The published vacancy rate for truck transportation now sits at 9.4%, up from 8.7% in Q1. This is significantly higher than the average across all sectors of the economy at 5.9% and is exceeded only by the accommodation and food services sector’s rate of 11.9%.
Trucking HR Canada estimates that this could mean excess demand for truck drivers in the second quarter of 2022 approached 15,000 drivers (14,910). That is, even if the industry were able to hire every currently available truck driver across Canada, an additional 15,000 brand new employees would still need to be recruited, trained, and onboarded to meet the total demand for driving services.
Recruitment and training of new, inexperienced drivers is a costly process since new recruits not only require entry-level training but additional onboarding and on-the-job training during which new drivers are accompanied by an experienced driver to ensure adequate understanding of and adherence to on-road safety protocols, the report said.
Furthermore, employers report that insurance premiums associated with new drivers are significantly higher than those with one to three years of experience. In fact, over the past year over two-thirds of the vacant driver positions required between one and five years of experience, limiting access to new labor market entrants.
The report revealed Ontario has the highest number of vacant positions for truck drivers, with some 9,100 vacant positions followed by Quebec with 5,565 driver vacancies. British Columbia has the highest vacancy rate (proportion of driver jobs that are vacant) at 11.9% and has 4915 driver vacancies which is 17% of total driver vacancies across the country, followed by Manitoba and Alberta, each with vacancy rates of 11.6%.
According to Trucking HR Canada’s labor market information system, the number of vacancies also rose in other key occupations in the trucking and logistics sector between Q1 and Q2. There were approximately 5,200 vacant positions for shippers and receivers within the trucking and logistics sector in the second quarter of 2022, up 11% over Q1. An additional 600 vacancies were posted for dispatchers (up 6.1% over the previous quarter), 843 vacancies for mechanics (up 14.3%) and 3,261 for material handlers (up 3.7%).
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