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Facing Shortage Of Drivers, Trucking Companies Offering Big Incentives To Lure New Hires

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A truck driver shortage is just one part of the problem in the current supply chain crisis across the country.

One carrier is offering big incentives to lure in drivers, but as CBS 2's Marissa Parra found out, that wasn't enough to bring out candidates to a job fair on Thursday.

Old Dominion held the job fair in University Park, with a table of treats ready to greet what they'd hoped would be a steady stream of applicants.

"The demand for workers, dock workers, especially drivers – local drivers, long haul drivers – is so high right now that we need them," Old Dominion supervisor Mark Przespolewski said.

But by noon, Przespolewski only had 15 applications.

"It wasn't as crowded as I thought it would be. I thought there would be more people applying," said applicant Robert Bratton.

"To me it's very surprising," Przespolewski said.

It's been difficult to get people to apply to be drivers, especially team drivers, meaning truck drivers who go cross country, and split the driving time with their partner.

"Team drivers are in high demand. We are offering a $5,000 sign-on bonus for them," Przespolewski said.

In light of the low number of drivers, trucking companies are upping the pay to make the jobs more enticing.

"It was probably in the mid $100,000 as far as how team drivers go. Right now the average for team drivers is around $202,000," Przespolewski said.

That does seem to be working. People from outside the industry are starting to take classes to break into a different industry on the brink of change.

"You get everything from bartenders and warehouse workers. I've had a Cook County sheriff leave their position to become a truck driver," Przespolewski said. "The need for them is so high that I think that's going to be the biggest change, that you're going to see a lot more people who are interested in it."

The American Trucking Association forecasts a shortage of up to 100,000 truck drivers by 2023, so these truck driving fairs aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

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