Trucking is in vogue, thanks to drivers

by Abdul Latheef

OTTAWA, Ont. – Truck drivers have helped boost the image of the industry because of the role they play in keeping the economy running during the Covid-19 crisis, according to a new poll.

Trucking HR

The survey of 1,800 people showed that 54% Canadians have a positive impression of trucking companies, whereas only 27% have a favorable view of the airline industry. Only 5% had a negative view.

The poll was conducted during May 14-18 by Abacus Data for Trucking HR Canada, and released Wednesday at a webinar on how Canadians see the industry in the context of the pandemic.

David Coletto
David Coletto, CEO, Abacus Data Photo: Blair Gable/Abacus Data

“I think there’s a real appreciation for the way the sector has delivered for Canadians in many ways.”

– David Coletto, CEO, Abacus Data.

“I think there’s a real appreciation for the way the sector has delivered for Canadians in many ways,” said David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data.

“And, I think a lot of the negatives that are often associated with truck driving – accidents, safety questions – were really not there. So, you have got this moment where people could actually empathize (with) you.”

In fact, Coletto said, overall impression of the sector has risen 10-15% over the past few months.

The poll also revealed that 72% of those surveyed now consider trucking as an essential sector. Once again, the airline industry pales in comparison, with just 16% saying it is essential.

Eighty-five percent said Canada needs a strong trucking sector for the economy to be healthy.

Still cool to a trucking career

Despite all the positive views, people are still not rushing to join the industry. Just 35% of respondents between the ages of 18 and 35 said they would consider a job in the sector.

Trucking HR

“There’s still some trepidation, a little bit higher than we had seen in the past among younger Canadians, but still a very small number who say I definitely wouldn’t consider doing this,” said Coletto.

“Building a platform that gets young people to reconsider a career or consider a career in the sector requires them to think highly of it, requires them to believe that other people think highly of it, and that they feel that it fits well with the kind of lifestyle and needs that they have,” Coletto said.

Angela Splinter, CEO of Trucking HR, said her organization is working with the Canadian Trucking Alliance and other partners on a campaign to promote trucking industry jobs to all.

She said the nationwide campaign will address the negative perceptions young people have about the industry.

The poll also raised questions about the affordability of truck driver training.

Sixty-four percent of respondents said they want the federal government to provide funding for training.

“It is also reflective of a lack of understanding that most people have about what it actually costs to become a truck driver,” said Coletto.

He said there is a perception that the training is expensive. In Ontario, it costs between $8,000 and $10,000 to get a truck driver’s licence.

Coping with Covid-19

Abacus Data also explored how Canadians are coping with the pandemic, and concluded that many people are very worried indeed.

Abacus Data

In late March 40% of respondents said they were worried about the pandemic, but as of May 18, the “worry curve” had fallen to 29%, Coletto said.

“So, that is basically three out of 10 Canadians saying they are still extremely worried or worried a lot about this pandemic.”

The pandemic has financially hurt many Canadians, with many feeling a real impact.

“It underscores the level of insecurity, the level of vulnerability that so many Canadians right now are feeling, and I’ve never seen a number this high.”

– David Coletto, CEO, Abacus Data

“As of early May, one out of five Canadians still say to us that they are worried their job will disappear,” Coletto said.

“And so, it underscores the level of insecurity, the level of vulnerability that so many Canadians right now are feeling, and I’ve never seen a number this high.”

Coletto said people are ware that the government stimulus cannot go on forever.

In all, Abacus Data conducted seven national surveys since mid-March, interviewing more than 16,000 people.

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  • I would personally like to appreciate all the hard work and diligent effert that trucks drivers have invested to the sector as well as the Canadian government and officials and it will be model for other countries and their officials too

    Am an indian who currently work as a truck driver in UAE / Dubai trying to migrate and work at canada ,
    Thanks & regards
    Appu Suresh

  • Sweden has taken a totally different approach to most of the world
    They have little disruption to their economy
    Canadians will see what the long term results will be here . Many businesses will not survive

    • Sweden also has insanely high relative death rates and have bet on COVID-19 antibodies providing immunity to the disease – a claim which has not been tested and proven yet. They are making a hugely risky bet with peoples’ lives on an unfounded assumption, and if they’re wrong they killed a bunch of people for no good reason. Give your head a shake bud.

  • Your funny, you show stats and say things that make no sense. Trucking is a job not a career. If you start off as a truck driver and leave the industry as a truck driver then what is the career? Most people I have worked with realize this is a job. You sweep floors job, you clean toilets job, trucking job. Stop the bull, we see your paper in the washrooms as most guys use it too fill the day.

    • It’s a career if a driver wants it to be. Or do you fail to understand what a career is?
      You advance in a career, from company driver, to owner op to self employed. So ya…it’s a career

    • I think you fail to realize what a career is sure a job is a job but a career can the one job your entire life or many jobs over the course of your life

  • As a Canadian trucker, I feel the sacrifices the men & women in the industry have to endure, especially Long Haulers, should be on the scale of pay to which a federal civil servants pay scale is. If you away from you spouse or SO., you kids, your home ……..
    . Youŕ Life!!!… the compensation for that sacrifice should reflect said sacrifice..
    My heart goes out to all who are rolling the wheel right now..
    Stay Safe&Healthy ✌

  • Its a job and a career. I have been trucking since i was 22 years old, im 53 now, so do the math thats 31 years. I currently deliver to a world wide fast food chain…a little scottish restaurant called mcdonalds.. and made $100,000 last year.. if you got it, a truck brought it..

  • The problem with the trucking industry is the pay structure u add it up for those 14 hour days it’s only 17 dollars an hour no over time pay how is it even possible with the labor laws a guy might as well stay home and work 2 jobs for that wage and still be around home

  • As far as I can see the trucking industry has been hurt by 1 low wages ie: if I work out what I get paid for the hours I’m away I dont make min. wage. 2 almost when you get to a warehouse to pick up or deliver you get treated like crap. 3 when you get laid over away from you only get paid if your lucky 1/3 of what you make driving for the day. My costs as a driver are the same but I get paid 2/3s less. It makes no sense at all. If I told anyone to go 2000 kms from and I will give you 1/3of what you should make you would tell me where to go but we do it all the time. I have been driving for over 41 years and it never got any better. I’m sick and tried of it plus what they hand licenses out to these day scares the hell out of me and it should you too!

  • IT NEEDS TO BE A SKILLED TRADE!!!
    Train the drivers in months ,in a truck, not two weeks in a classroom.
    Drivers from Toronto and Brampton (both rigs and cars) make appointments at our small town for testing. This should not be allowed. Skilled training designation would negate this back door method of testing.
    And puhlease…if you don’t drive, you can’t recruit…honestly get a clue!!

    And as for us “out here”… I haven’t seen my children, grandchildren or parents since February 14th. Literally have not stopped.
    We are a food carrier …. It’s what we do.

    I am also an online student at Athabasca University… No need to be bored right