Amid rising demand for truck drivers, the industry’s HR experts have tools to help

Amid rising demand for truck drivers, the industry’s HR experts have tools to help

Angela Splinter, CEO

Amid rising demand for truck drivers, the industry’s HR experts have tools to help

According to Trucking HR Canada’s latest labour market information (LMI), nearly 320,000 people were employed or actively seeking work as truck drivers during the third quarter of 2022. Roughly 60% of these drivers work directly in the truck transportation sector while the rest are employed in construction, agriculture, mining, oil and gas, wholesale distribution, and other industries that use trucks to get the job done.

Qualified truck drivers are hard to find. During Q3 2022, the unemployment rate for truck drivers fell by more than half to 2.1% compared to the same period in 2021. Job postings for truck drivers are going unfilled for longer periods. In 2021, the percentage of jobs that were posted for more than 90 days went from 18% at the start of the year to 40% by the end.

Brand new drivers present an even bigger challenge given the cost of recruiting, onboarding, and training. While some but not all of these costs can be passed along to customers in other sectors of the Canadian economy, trucking and logistics firms have to be efficient and strategic in their HR practices.

Western impacts

Our LMI suggests that certain regions of the country have a greater need for trucking and logistics workers than others. THRC is working with some provinces and territories to gain a clearer understanding of these regional realities.

For example, we partnered with the Alberta government and Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) to study employment in the province’s trucking and logistics sector. Here is what we learned:

  • Alberta accounts for 14.3% of employment in the sector, averaging nearly 95,000 workers over the past 10 years.
  • Transport truck drivers (NOC 7511) make up 45% (approximately 41,000) of Albertans who are employed in trucking and logistics.
  • Other industry occupations include shippers and receivers (15% of the sector’s total workforce); delivery and courier service drivers (11%); and material handlers (5%).
  • 35% of truck drivers in Alberta work in general freight while 26% work in specialized freight. The rest are employed in other sectors such as construction; mining; wholesale and retail trade; and manufacturing.
  • Vacancies have soared to the second-highest rate since Statistics Canada began publishing the data in 2015. On average in 2021 there were 3,200 truck driver vacancies in Alberta, up 19% from 2019.
  • THRC expects the demand for drivers in Alberta to increase to 49,000 by 2025, in part due to an aging workforce.

Driving toward solutions

What is THRC doing to help? Here are four initiatives to consider:

1. Career ExpressWay

We have a suite of driver training and wage incentives to help trucking and logistics employers recruit, train, and retain talent. From drivers to office staff to student internships – our programs directly support your recruitment and retention efforts.

2. THRC Resource Centre 

We also have a growing suite of resources and tools to help employers develop a more diverse, flexible, and inclusive workforce.  This includes guides, templates, best practices and more.

Trucking Careers GPS is an interactive online resource where career-seekers can learn more about the industry and how to put their skills to work.

3. Women with Drive

Every year Trucking HR Canada hosts Women with Drive, a national leadership summit focused on how to make trucking and logistics a more welcoming industry for women and other equity-deserving groups. The next summit will be held on March 8, 2023, International Women’s Day. Registration is open.

As part of an ongoing project, funded through Women And Gender Equality Canada, THRC is taking the Women with Drive events on the road! Over the next two years, we will be hosting events in communities across the country – including all western provinces.

4. Labour Code Compliance

THRC is a designated training provider for anti-workplace harassment training required under the Canada Labour Code, offering cost-effective training for trucking and logistics employers. We are also working in collaboration with the Pay Equity Commissioner to help employers stay on track to compliance.

With reliable labour market data and HR management tools, employers can more effectively help workers recognize the many opportunities in the trucking and logistics sector, and build strong workforces for today, and the future. Explore the THRC Learning Centre