The freight industry has been hampered by driver shortages for 15 years, but at the end of 2017, it reached the highest level on record, with just one truck available for every 12 loads that need to be shipped. Currently, there are more than 50,000 job openings for truck drivers, and experts are projecting shortages to reach nearly 175,000 open jobs by 2026. Over the next decade, the trucking industry will need to hire approximately 90,000 drivers per year.

This driver shortage has a far-reaching impact on most American industries and consumers. More than 70% of the goods we purchase are transported by highway. Increasing driver shortages are projected to impact product inventory levels and consumer prices, and may lead to delays and shortages of goods in stores.

While the freight industry seeks to address ongoing driver shortages by raising wages, there are still many reasons why these high-wage jobs are challenging to fill.

It is a hard job

The highest-paid truck driving jobs require drivers to spend extended time away from home, sleeping in the cab of their trucks and meeting aggressive deadlines. It is difficult, emotionally taxing work.

Drivers are held to a high standard

As much as companies want to hire new drivers, they cannot relax their standards for qualifications, safety, and reliability. Other industries may be able to relax hiring requirements to meet staffing needs, but the freight industry cannot.

The existing workforce is aging

The average age of an over-the-road truck driver is 49, and for private fleet drivers, the median age is 52. This is compared to an average working age of 42 for all Americans. In the coming years, these highly experienced and qualified drivers will retire, and a younger workforce is not in place to step into those jobs.

Competition with other industries

With the cost of a college education rising sharply every year, high-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree are appealing for many young people. However, the minimum age requirement to drive a tractor-trailer across state lines is 21 years old. During the crucial years from 18-21, those young people that may have entered the trucking industry have instead established themselves in the retail or service industries, or in other trades, particularly construction.

To compensate for these challenges, many transport industries are trying to lure new hires with additional benefits. In addition to raising wages, many companies are offering:

  • Paid training
  • Signing bonuses for new hires
  • Performance incentives

In short, if you’ve been considering a new career as a truck driver, there has never been a better time.

Types of drivers in the trucking industry

There is a broad range of driver jobs within the trucking and transport industries.

Bus driver

Bus drivers focus on transporting people from place to place. These kinds of drivers can work for their city and local bus routes (like the local #9 bus), longer distance routes between states and regions (like Greyhound), or chartered services (like driving a band or sightseeing tour). These jobs offer an average annual salary of $30,950.

Delivery truck driver

These drivers transport packages and small shipments, typically on a local or regional route, like UPS, FedEx, or the United States Postal Service. These jobs have an average annual salary of $31,400.

Heavy load transport

These drivers transport heavy loads from one location to another. Heavy loads are frequently transported long distances, often for trash and recycling companies or construction companies. These jobs have an average annual salary of $42,390

Over-the-road drivers

Known as OTR or long-haul drivers, these drivers transport goods long distances, often being on the road for weeks at a time. These jobs have an average annual salary of $50,117.

Things to know about driver pay

Most truck driving jobs pay by distance traveled, rather than by time spent. It’s common to pay drivers $0.28 – $0.40 per mile.

Driver compensation can vary quite a bit not only from company to company, and industry to industry but from region to region. For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2016, the top paying states for heavy and tractor-trailer drivers were:

  • North Dakota: $53,720
  • Alaska: $53,480
  • Massachusetts: $49,920

Note that wages in the industry are rapidly rising. now estimates annual truck driver salaries, based on their aggregated data over the last 24 months, to be $66,532 per year.

Best Trucking Companies to Work for

We used to rate employee satisfaction and reflect employee self-reported salaries. Other salary figures quoted above have been sourced from the BLS and aggregated job listing data, but for this ranking, we are using what employees themselves report as their salaries on and

We are also using publicly available information to research other factors that make an employer a good one, such as corporate citizenship and reputation, as well as employee benefits, signing bonuses, and paid training.

While many employees have very positive experiences working at smaller, regional companies, we excluded them from this list in order to broaden its usefulness. But truck drivers seeking employment should remember to look locally.

Remember that, since Glassdoor was the primary source for the overall rating, there might be excellent companies out there that simply don’t have employee reviews on that website. While many of these companies also have employee reviews on, there are far fewer reviews overall and have not been averaged into these ratings.

TLD Logistics

31 reviews

  • 7-star rating, 93% would recommend to a friend, 93% approve of CEO
  • Glassdoor salaries: Drivers earn 29-52K, average $41,897
  • Indeed salaries: Drivers earn $49,997

TLD Logistics offers:

  • Driver safety bonus
  • Referral program
  • Fuel bonus
  • Driver recognition program
  • Pay incentives for Canadian drivers and driver trainees
  • Pay incentives for drivers hauling over-sized loads
  • Paid vacation and 8 paid holidays a year
  • Medical, vision, dental, and cancer insurance
  • Sick pay

TLD Logistics pursues corporate responsibility with:

  • Environmental protection, compliance, and awareness programs
  • Contributions to the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund

Ward Trucking

77 reviews

  • 5-star rating, 91% would recommend to a friend, 98% approve of CEO
  • Glassdoor salaries: Delivery drivers average $32,078 per year; truck drivers average $50,129
  • Indeed salaries: Local drivers earn $66,611 per year; truck drivers earn $61,110

Ward Trucking offers:

  • Medical insurance for eligible employees and dependents with premiums discounts for years of service with Ward
  • Dental and vision programs for eligible employees and dependents
  • Flexible spending accounts for eligible employees and dependents
  • 401K retirement program
  • Life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment insurance
  • Aflac Voluntary Supplemental Benefits for critical illness, accident and short term disability
  • MetLife Voluntary Supplemental Benefits for auto, home, and pet insurance
  • Health expense reimbursement accounts
  • Employee assistance program with professional counselors 24/7
  • An advocacy program to assist with medical questions, claims issues, and treatment options
  • Paid holidays
  • Up to five weeks of vacation per year
  • A program designed to encourage and support healthy lifestyles
  • Uniform allowance for full-time drivers

Ward Trucking pursues corporate responsibility by:

  • Partnering with Smart Way for environmental awareness
  • 14-time recipient of the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Regional LTL Carrier Award

Transystems LLC

18 reviews

  • 5-star rating, 88% would recommend to a friend, 100% approve of CEO
  • Glassdoor salaries: Truck drivers average $17.22 hourly
  • Indeed salaries: Truck drivers average $880 per week, local drivers average $901 per week

Transystems LLC offers:

  • Medical insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • 401K
  • Holiday and vacation pay
  • Some driver jobs have a housing allowance

Melton Truck Lines

46 reviews

  • 4-star rating, 89% would recommend to a friend, 91% approve of CEO
  • Glassdoor salaries: Flatbed drivers average $52,596 annually, OTR truck drivers average $53,573
  • Indeed salaries: Truck drivers average $47,878 per year, drivers average $46,538 per year

Melton Truck Lines offers:

  • $1500 sign-on bonus
  • $2400 tuition reimbursement bonus for new graduates
  • $250 – $1000 driver referral bonuses
  • Many additional bonuses for truck drivers, including bonuses for tarp, over-sized loads, layovers, clean DOT inspections, etc.
  • Performance incentive bonuses
  • 1-3 weeks of vacation
  • 6 holidays a year
  • Medical insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Short-term disability insurance
  • 401k plan
  • Employee assistance program
  • Pet and rider program
  • Military and VA programs
  • Profit sharing programs
  • Melton has a guarantee that all employees are home on Christmas Day
  • Melton Truck Lines pursues corporate responsibility with:
  • Events to support the United Way, Salvation Army, and American Heart Association
  • Support of non-profit organizations that help at-risk kids, veterans, and others
  • Support for environmental, wildfire, and hurricane relief programs

Dot Foods

99 reviews

  • 1-star rating, 79% would recommend to a friend, 95% approve of CEO
  • Glassdoor salaries: Truck drivers average $58,986 per year
  • Indeed salaries: Drivers average $72,722 per year, truck drivers average $63,667 per year

Dot Foods offers:

  • Medical insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Prescription drug plan
  • Flexible spending program
  • Retirement plans
  • Profit sharing plan
  • Company bonus program
  • Life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment insurance
  • Short-term and long-term disability insurance
  • Accident and critical illness insurance
  • 80-200 hours of vacation per year depending on the length of service
  • Gradual return to work program for new mothers paid paternity leave for new fathers, paid adoption leave for new parents and adoption reimbursement program
  • Employee assistance program and legal and financial information services
  • Tuition reimbursement program
  • Professional development programs
  • Employee crisis fund
  • Dot Foods pursues corporate responsibility with:
  • The Dot Foods charitable grant program
  • The Tracy Family Foundation grant program
  • Diversity and sustainability programs and initiatives

Bancroft and Sons Transportation Service

14 reviews

  • 0-star rating, 85% would recommend to a friend, 100% approve of CEO
  • Glassdoor salaries: Truck drivers average $62,333 per year, OTR average $73-79K
  • Indeed: no listing

Bancroft and Sons offers:

  • Medical insurance
  • Dental and vision insurance
  • 10 paid holidays a year
  • 401K
  • Dedicated routes
  • Luxurious, fuel efficient, high-tech fleet of trucks

Barr-Nunn Transportation

43 reviews

  • 0-star rating, 80% would recommend to a friend, 93% approve of CEO
  • Glassdoor salaries: Truck drivers average $58,096 per year
  • Indeed salaries: none listed

Barr-Nunn Transportation offers:

  • Sign-on bonuses and transition pay
  • Safety and CSA bonuses
  • Safety-based pay raises
  • Paid time off
  • 401k
  • Health insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Pay based on practical mileage scale, detention pay after 1 hour, higher band pay per mile
  • Rider program available
  • Veteran’s program
  • Quality equipment
  • Barr-Nunn Transportation pursues corporate responsibility with:
  • Supporting Truckers Against Trafficking
  • Independently certified top pay carrier 2005-2017

Republic Services

1400 reviews

  • 0-star rating, 81% would recommend to a friend, 92% approve of CEO
  • Glassdoor salaries: Bus drivers earn $39,641 per year, drivers earn $37,205
  • Indeed salaries: drivers earn $46,256 per year, truck drivers earn $49,571 per year

Republic Services offers:

  • Medical insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Health care and dependent spending accounts
  • Short-term and long-term disability programs
  • Life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment insurance
  • Employee assistance program
  • Employee discount program
  • 401K program
  • Employee stock purchase program
  • Republic Services pursues corporate responsibility by:
  • Business Insider one of the most meaningful companies to work for
  • Forbes America’s Best Large Employers 2017
  • World’s Most Ethical Companies 2017

Watkins & Shepard Trucking

39 reviews

  • 0-star rating, 73% would recommend to a friend, 58% approve of CEO
  • Glassdoor salaries: Truck drivers average $61,956 per year
  • Indeed: no listing

Watkins & Shepard Trucking (now a subsidiary of Schneider) offers:

  • Health and wellness plans
  • Dental coverage
  • Vision coverage
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Employee assistance program
  • Life insurance
  • 401K
  • Accident insurance
  • CDL Defender Plan and family legal plan
  • Critical illness insurance
  • Short-term disability
  • 1 week to 4 weeks of paid time off, depending on the length of service
  • Funeral leave, jury duty leave, military leave
  • Commuter benefits
  • Adoption assistance
  • Home and auto insurance
  • Employee discounts
  • Service awards
  • Up to $7000 tuition reimbursement for new graduates
  • Passenger program
  • New trucks
  • Performance bonuses based on service, safety, fuel management, etc.

Old Dominion Freight

327 reviews

  • 8-star rating, 78% would recommend to a friend, 84% approve of CEO
  • Glassdoor salaries: Long haul drivers average $82,354 per year
  • Indeed salaries: Drivers earn $59,798 per year, truck drivers average $61,059 per year

Old Dominion Freight offers:

  • Medical insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Wellness programs
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • 401K
  • Life insurance
  • Employee assistance program
  • Paid time offers
  • Holiday pay
  • Sick pay
  • Annual “Birthday Holiday”
  • Old Dominion Freight pursues corporate responsibility by:
  • Best LTL National Carrier 2017 (8th consecutive year)
  • US EPA 2017 SmartWay Excellence Award (3rd consecutive year)
  • Top 100 Trucker by Inbound Logistics 2017 (3rd consecutive year)

FedEx just missed the top 10 rankings by Glassdoor reviews, but FedEx and UPS remain important employers in the industry, with jobs around the nation, around the world, and around the clock.

About sign-on bonuses

As you have seen, several of these companies offer sign-on bonuses for new hires. This practice is growing, and the amounts are increasing, in an effort to fill these needed positions. Bonuses are reaching ever higher, into the thousands of dollars, and are a powerful incentive to accept a job at a given company.

But it’s important to view large sign-on bonuses with some caution, for a few reasons.

If a company is offering truly outsized sign-on bonuses, it could be due to high employee turnover. If drivers are frequently leaving the company and are dissatisfied with their jobs, it may be a sign that you won’t be happy there either.

Remember that just because it’s called a “sign-on bonus” doesn’t mean you will get the money immediately after being hired. Look closely at the terms of the bonus and ask questions. Many companies only pay out the bonus after a period of time, and during that time you need to meet all their performance objectives. Some companies pay a portion of the amount up front, and the balance after a full year.

Note that good base pay is much more valuable than bonuses, for two reasons:


  • A driver earning $.33/mile, averaging 2500 miles per week, will earn $42,900 per year
  • A driver earning $.37/mile, averaging 2500 miles per week, will earn $48,100 per year

Although it’s just .04/mile, it adds up to $5200 over the year, higher than most sign-on bonuses


Bonuses are taxed at a higher rate than wages. While individual tax rates are complicated, using the supplemental tax percentage method, a sign-on bonus would need to be $6500 to equal the amount earned at the higher base wage in the example above.


This list of the 10 best trucking companies to work for shows that these jobs offer good pay, excellent benefits, good corporate values, and high quality of life. Truck driving is a valuable skill that is in high demand, with positive projections for the future. If you are considering a career as a driver, consider these employers as a good place to begin.