Diversity in the work place
Mar 14, 2023 — Allie Barshinger

Truck Driver Pay Today and Tomorrow

Truck drivers are an essential part of the supply chain and transportation network. The average truck driver’s earnings have grown as this network continues to grow and evolve with new technological advancements. During the pandemic, carriers across the U.S. increased average CPM and other rates of pay for truck drivers in a bid to get ahead of the competition to recruit drivers.

As a recruiter, ensuring that your company’s truck driver pay is competitive in the marketplace is crucial for attracting and retaining top talent. In this article, we’ll delve into current trends in truck driver compensation and how technological advancements are shaping the job market for long-distance truckers.

We’ll also examine future earning potential and job outlook to help you make informed decisions about your hiring strategy. Stay ahead of the curve by staying informed on the ever-changing landscape of truck driver earnings.

Overview of Truck Driver Pay

Truck Driver pay

Unlike typical 9-5 jobs, truck driving jobs have many payment systems, making it difficult to calculate how much a driver will get paid in a year. While some carriers stick to a salary model, others are paid a set amount of cents per mile.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), truck driver salaries vary depending on experience and route type, but the median annual wage for tractor-trailer truck drivers as of May 2021 was $45,260 per year ($21.76 per hour). Entry-level education is typically a high school diploma or equivalent, though some employers may require additional certifications such as a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).

Work experience is not required for entry-level truck driving positions; however, many trucking companies offer short-term, on-the-job training programs that can help new drivers learn the ropes quickly and get up to speed on industry regulations and safety protocols. As of May 2021, there was 2,094,700 truck driving jobs in America, with an expected growth rate of 4% through 2031 – adding 259,900 jobs over that period – making it one of the fastest-growing occupations in the United States.

Truck Driver Pay For Different Route Types

Truck on its route.

An essential factor for truck driver pay is the route type. Truckers are typically compensated by the mile. OTR drivers spend weeks on the road and generally command the highest pay for interstate truck driving. Regional drivers will operate within an area within a few bordering states, and local drivers typically stay within 100 miles.

Here’s the pay breakdown for each route type:

OTR Drivers: OTR truck drivers make up to $0.58 per mile, with up to 3,000 miles a week.

Regional Drivers: Regional trucker drivers usually get paid between $0.37 -$0.55 per mile, with up to 2,800 miles a week.

Local Drivers: Local truck drivers earn between $0.42-$0.71 per mile and can drive up to 2,500 miles a week.

Other Factors That Affect Truck Driver Pay

Truck driver and supervisor.

Truck drivers want to get the money they deserve. To recruit the best drivers possible, you will need to emphasize the different ways drivers can get paid.

Here are some of the other factors that can help or hurt a truck driver’s bottom line:

Freight Type

Different types of freight can mean different pay scales. For example, hazardous materials and oversized loads generally have higher rates than regular freight. Freight weight, length, value, and urgency also come into play when determining how much to charge for a load.

Truck Driving Bonuses

Shorter delivery times and fewer stops can mean extra bonuses for truck drivers. Some companies also offer incentives such as activity, fuel, and safety bonuses. Drivers willing to work hard and get the job done quickly (and safely) can earn extra money this way.

Some carriers/trucking companies also use hiring bonuses to incentivize working for them. Additionally, these companies often have referral bonuses. As you can see, bonuses are a significant factor in how much a truck driver gets paid.

Stop and Detention Pay

Drivers get paid for each stop made and detention time, which can add up quickly. Detention pay is essential because truck drivers often wait at a delivery location while their load is unloaded or loaded. This adds an extra incentive layer to ensure the job gets done quickly.

Accessorial Pay

Accessorial pay is extra money for any unique tasks required to complete a delivery. This could be things like overnight deliveries, lifting and carrying heavy objects, or multiple stops on the way. If drivers are willing to do extra work, they can make extra money.

Per Diem Pay

Per diem pay is a type of allowance given to truck drivers while away from home. This helps cover the costs of being on the road, such as food, lodging, and other necessary items. Per diem pay can become incredibly enticing because it is non-taxable.

Driving Preference

Depending on how your truck driver candidates wish to handle driving can significantly impact how much money they can earn. For example, some truck drivers wish to work in pairs as team drivers.

Here are some of the differences between solo and team driving pay:

Solo Drivers

Solo drivers are responsible for the entire operation of their trucks, from driving and loading/unloading to service, paperwork, and more. These drivers typically have increased earning potential based on the amount of time they’re willing to spend on the road; however, there are limits due to hours of service regulations.

Team Drivers

On the other hand, team drivers are responsible for a portion of the overall operation of a truck, but they may benefit from the shared workload and cost savings associated with having two drivers. Team drivers typically have lower base pay rates than solo drivers when divided in half, but two drivers have the potential to work much longer hours and therefore increase their earning potential.

Salary Comparison

Regarding truck driver salaries, team truckers can earn more than solo truckers. The average salary for team truck drivers is $105,483 annually, while the average base salary for solo truck drivers is $88,172 annually. Team trucking offers higher potential earnings while allowing truckers to share the responsibilities, resulting in fewer hours on the road overall.

Job Outlook for Truck Drivers in 2023

Line of trucks

The trucking industry is expected to continue its growth trajectory over the next few years. With a projected 3% increase in truck driving jobs through 2029, a truck driver’s earnings will likely remain competitive and advantageous for those looking to make a career out of trucking.

Technological advancements such as automated driving systems, improved safety measures, and increased data tracking are also expected to shape trucking in 2023, and truck drivers must be prepared for these changes. Companies that embrace technology stand to benefit from improved efficiency, cost savings, and customer satisfaction – all of which can translate into higher pay.

Other Factors That Will Affect the Trucking Job Market

New, younger truck driver

As we continue to navigate the ever-changing landscape of the trucking industry, it’s important to consider current trends and other factors that could significantly impact the job market in the coming years. Here are two key factors to keep in mind:

Aging Workforce and Lack of New Entrants

One major factor affecting the trucking job market is the aging workforce. The average age of truckers is rising sharply, and there aren’t enough younger workers entering the field to make up for those who are retiring or leaving.

This trend makes it more difficult to maintain a sustainable base of potential hires. As such, hiring truckers and drivers in 2023 and beyond is likely to be more challenging than in recent years.

Impact of ‘Build Back Better’ Plan

Another factor worth considering is the potential impact of Joe Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ plan. The plan includes opportunities for growth within manufacturing, construction, and supply chain industries that could help reinvigorate the CDL-driving labor market. This objective bodes well for American drivers, as bringing primary industries back onto American shores could insulate against globalization risks and promote local growth.

Pay in the Truck Driving Industry

Truck driver holding up money.

Overall, recruiters have much to consider when looking into the future of truck driver pay. Many factors have led to a constrained labor market and wage inflation, requiring a strategic approach to navigate.

In addition to their pay, truck drivers also enjoy access to medical insurance plans, retirement benefits programs, paid vacation days, and more. Paying close attention to these trends will help you offer competitive pay and successfully fill truck driver positions in the coming years.

Once you offer competitive pay rates and incentives to truck drivers, you can expect equal talent in return. To find the divers you are looking for, consider checking out AllTruckJobs.com.

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