Still Not Truckin’

Looks like I got it right:

Shortage of truckers is stifling the economy.

Recruiters that show up daily at TDDS are offering jobs that pay $60,000 to $70,000, with full benefits and a $4,000 signing bonus.

I suggested in my earlier post that this would leave the door open to illegal aliens being hired for trucking jobs by desperate trucking firms, but I think that we’re missing an opportunity here.  Why not invite foreigners to do the jobs, on the equivalent of an H1-B visa, i.e. a temporary work permit?  But I don’t mean just anyone:  I’m thinking Eastern Europeans, specifically Poles, who are already doing a lot of long-haul truck-driving in the EU.

Discuss in Comments.

13 comments

  1. Umm – Nope

    If you cannot fill a job at the pay you are advertising, it is the market telling you that you are not paying enough relative to the other opportunities for qualified individuals. So the right answer is to do nothing, trucking companies will either figure out that they have to pay more, or they will figure out an alternative solution.

    Please leaving screwing with the market to the left. Our job on the right is to fight against that crap.

  2. Wages will ultimately go up to the point they have ~80% of the required butts in seats, and trucking companies will happily pass that on to people who pay for their services, who in turn will happily pass it on to the consumer. That’s fine– that’s how it’s supposed to work.

    Driver retention will always be a thing– it’s much nicer to be a local delivery driver for UPS, et al, than doing long haul– but that’s essentially the same problem with the same solution.

  3. Kim, I’m surprised you got so close, yet still missed the target, here.

    What we need are HOT POLISH WIMMINS for the H1B visas.

    Make Trucking Sexy Again!

    And I’d bet that with enough of those hotties in the cabs, that the trucking industry’s recruiting offices would see a bit of an up-tick of interest from the USA boys, too.

    I think you’d be a great hire as the Screener for the Hawt Polish Babes, by the way. And you could post the Candidate Photos here for us all to approve of your mighty efforts, yes?

    Jim
    Sunk New Dawn
    Galveston, TX

  4. > What we need are HOT POLISH WIMMINS for the H1B visas.

    My wife’s family is polish.

    I’m having trouble with the “HOT” part of that.

    1. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs…. you know… the area that’s jokingly called “The largest Polish city outside of Poland” and there were plenty of hot Polish girls there. Perhaps we should recruit from that pool instead?

  5. Pure BS. The trucking companies are not offering those wages. They offer $40k and you get to be home a few days a month. The $70-80K is bait and the only people making that are longtime employees that are now retiring and they cant find replacements for $40k. As long as they believe their whining about how Americans wont do those jobs will get them cheap Mexican labor, they will never raise wages.

  6. So you start at $40k and (maybe) work up to $70K? Can’t do that with an MS SW degree, let alone the harebrained grievance studies degrees, all of which may leave you in the hole with student debt.
    Just shipped a car by covered carrier and that guy owned his rig – major capital investment. Bet he didn’t start out with that. Half of millennials expect to become millionaires – there’s dues to be paid first, which they don’t expect.

  7. Poles right now seem to run London England, in a good sense, in the sense that many senior working positions are held by Poles. And, when you want a full English at 5 AM, Who’s your waitress? She’s a Pole.

    Headwaiter/ress: Pole. Guy who controls rental car check in check out: Pole.

    I have a soft spot for Poles. My mother’s German village had Polish occupation troops. After a bit of initial trouble the Poles realized the Kraut villagers were just like them, complete with pretty daughters. One of my uncles by marriage is a Pole; and a true gentleman.

    Plus, Jan Sobieski saved western civilization from the Muslims. Never forget what they did for us.

  8. Having recently been out of work for about seven months, I can vouch for how desperate companies like CR England are to hire drivers. I get about 2-3 texts daily inviting me to take a 2-3 week CDL course, paid for by the company, after which I could (it’s claimed) start driving for them right away.

    The thing is, as someone said in an earlier comment, they’re only going about $40k and you spend most of your time on the road. Not for me.

    I eventually settled for a job as a technical writer at about 2/3 what I was making at my last job (engineering), but it at least comes with benefits and is significantly more than the trucking companies were waving at me.

    Then there the insurance companies – 100% commission and lots of cold-calling. And the repackaging scams. Being unemployed just ain’t the same any more….

  9. My take is this is a combination of “not seeing the larger picture” and “when the only tool you have is a hammer….”

    For a century-worth of decades, “train” was the accepted long-distance shipping mode for bulk stuff, and everyone accepted that “train” meant “2 days short of forever.” Then Eisenhower & Co., formerly well isolated in Kansas, ventured overseas and were introduced to several of the Krauts’ Good Ideas and the interstate highway system was born. The ribbons of pavement beckoned, and it was discovered that quantities of bulk stuff could be moved by “truck” and that “trucks” could negotiate the pavement directly between shipper and recipient without all that nasty extra handling and union-driven railroad delay.

    Over time the benefit of direct connection led to (well, more like “heavily contributed,” a lot of it was self-inflicted) atrophy of the railroads and “truckers” embued with the “Knights of the Road” moniker prospered, assisted by visions of independence and the idea of being “the last cowboy.”

    Now, faced with an obsolete distribution system, obsolete in the sense that it fails to adequately favor “time” which is a major component of “just in time” – the favorite phrase of the productivity mavens who are enamored of instant transfer of small quanities to boost “efficiency” (instantaneous delivery of “a lot size of one” is the Holy Grail) – has caused a shortage of “truckers.” The solution, I offer, is not a shortage of “truckers” but a basic structural defect in the system.

    Were producers more closely geographically aligned with recipients transit time would shrink drastically. California lettuce and avocados cannot be grown in New Jersey and preservation by freezing is not an option, but anything industrial can be made indoors pretty much anywhere, by anyone sufficiently competent to make it. While it’s sensible to concentrate steel smelters in Minnesota and western Pennsylvania, the sheet goods made from their output can be manufactured across the street from the Maytag plant.

    And, as great success often leads to abject failure, prosperity has created its own bottleneck: the population has grown, the economy has grown, the diversity of economic activity has grown, the interaction of international as well as national economic sectors has grown, but the corresponding supply of new pavement has not.

    Any idea to which societal entity we have delegated responsibility for roadway planning and construction, not to mention assisting in the creation of railroad rights-of-way and policies designed to enhance economic successes? Anticipatory activity is not something one finds in the government lexicon.

  10. I said it last month and I’ll say it again. This isn’t rocket surgery.

    If you can’t find a quality employee to do your shitty job for the wages you are offering, then that means you either (a) have to find a way to make the job less shitty or (b) pay a high enough wage that your employees will willingly put up with the shitty conditions under which they’re working (but the danger with option B is that eventually, people get fed up with the shittiness of the job, regardless of the higher pay, and that makes them ripe for being poached away by your competitor who has found a way to make the job less shitty.)

    To me, any employer complaining about not being able to find qualified employees is just advertising their own stupidity, poor business skills or cheapness.

    Look, employer, YOU hold ALL the cards! You can structure the work so it’s less unpleasant, or you can offer higher pay. Your employee is out there, but as I said in my comment last month, you aren’t going to get a genius level employee for the price of a moron.

    You want quality, competence, and reliability? Well, you have to pay for that and if you won’t, you can bet your competitor will.

    To me all the pissing and moaning about “these kids today” is just the mirror image of the stereotype of the “entitled millenial” who supposedly thinks “the world owes him a living” while he has nothing to offer a potential employer.

    Except in this case it’s the “Entitled employer” who thinks he is entitled to get a quality employee for a shitty job and to get that for shit wages. (Typically the justification goes “back in my day we worked 19 hours straight for 2 cents and hour and our only bonus was a reprieve from the weekly beating.”) Ain’t happening.

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