Recent research conducted this year by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials finds their segment of the snow and ice industry has been experiencing higher than normal snowplow operator vacancies this winter.
In fact, 84% of research respondents reported they are experiencing higher than normal snowplow operator vacancies. In addition, 81% of vacancies were attributed to a lack of full-time employees, while others were due to problems finding seasonal workers or private contractors.
As result of this shortage, a quarter of those who responded said they’ve adapted by changing their level of service.
Jim Tymon, the association’s director, said in a news release the survey shows the shortage of snowplow drivers makes it more difficult to keep the traveling public safe and allow emergency responders to reach people in need.
What's to blame for this trend? City and state transportation managers point the finger at tight labor markets, uncompetitive salaries, retirements, and job switches. In addition, officials say they’re competing with private industry to hire drivers with commercial licenses. These drivers have been in high demand and can make much more money driving trucks.
A lot of this must sound familiar to those on the commercial side of the industry.
The association’s survey, conducted in January and February, solicited responses from 31 state departments of transportation and 51 public works agencies across the US.
Mike Zawacki is Editor of Snow Magazine.