The Labor Shortage

The aggregates industry had a labor problem before the rest of the country had one. Finding people to get their hands dirty has always been a challenge for producers, whether it is heavy equipment operators, truck drivers, diesel mechanics or laborers.

The labor problems that the rest of the country is experiencing has its roots in a number of factors. While it is easy to dismiss the situation as resulting from government pandemic dollars – people being paid to stay home – it is not quite as simple as that. In fact, one study indicated that the states that cut off pandemic payments way earlier than other states still experienced the same level of labor shortages in the marketplace.

In this issue, you will find a feature written by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers that does a good job explaining the labor shortage. But what can be done going forward?

Here’s one idea. The Glenn O. Hawbaker Transportation staff has successfully hired and trained 10 new hires without their Commercial Driver License (CDL) to study and obtain their CDL permits and pass the required CDL test given by the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles.

This group of employees has done an outstanding job, the company stated. All 10 have been promoted to Tri-axle Driver Level 1 and are driving independently, hauling aggregate and asphalt and dumping into shuttle buggies, wideners and stockpiles. Kudos to the Hawbaker organization for creating an incentive to fill jobs they desperately need.

There is one place that companies are not looking when it comes to creating a new generation of truck drivers: college graduates.

Maybe they should.

Here is a great story. Let me tell you about a young man I know named Joey, who graduated college with a degree in finance, went to work in that field and then discovered he could not sit at a desk and crunch numbers all day. Do you know what he is doing now? Driving a truck! He is currently working on his CDL and is making more money than he ever made crunching numbers.

To solve the labor shortage we will have to get creative and think outside of the box, like Joey did.