Driver shortage continues to challenge employers: Trucking HR Canada

Driver vacancies remained at record high levels, posing a challenge to the trucking and logistics sectors, the latest quarterly labor market information (LMI) snapshot by Trucking HR Canada has revealed.

A persistent shortage of experienced drivers is forcing employers into lengthy and expensive recruitment and training cycles.

Total driver employment in the first quarter of 2022 was 290,900, down 8% from the last quarter of 2021, but it is likely that this decrease in employment is mostly seasonal, the report said.

Analysis shows that the largest decrease was experienced in the wholesale and retail trade sectors – down by 15% and 23% respectively from Q4 2021. Employment among drivers working in the manufacturing sector also decreased by 13%.

Driver employment in Q1 2022 is 2% higher than in the same period in 2021.

The total number of vacant driver jobs in the last quarter of 2021 was 22,155. While driver vacancies have decreased slightly – down 835 positions from Q3 2021 – the total number remains at record high levels.

Craig Faucette, chief program officer, Trucking HR Canada said, “The highlighted ongoing challenges showcase the necessity to address underlying issues leading to our sector’s labor shortages, which are significantly impacting Canada’s economic recovery.”

Fewer experienced workers

Unemployment among drivers remains low, meaning employers need to attract and train new workers to meet demand.

Unemployment among truck drivers in Q1 2022 was 4.2%, below the average unemployment rate of 6.1% in the Canadian economy. While this is up slightly from Q4 2021 when unemployment averaged 3.2% amongst drivers, it is down significantly from 6.3% last year (Q1 2021). The 10-year average unemployment rate is 5.3% for truck drivers.

The proportion of vacancies that have been posted for more than 90 days increased 5% from 44.3% in the third quarter to 49.3% in the fourth quarter. The proportion of vacancies which are constantly being recruited for is now 70.6%, up from 65.3% in Q3 2021.

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