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Manny Dhillon of the United Truckers Association is stands in a truck yard in Surrey on Wednesday. (Rafal Gerszak for the globe and mail)
Manny Dhillon of the United Truckers Association is stands in a truck yard in Surrey on Wednesday. (Rafal Gerszak for the globe and mail)

More than 16,000 transport truck drivers needed in B.C. by 2022 Add to ...

British Columbia’s skilled work force is expected to undergo an invisible shift in coming years as the pool of younger workers becomes smaller than the number of aging workers who have their eye on retirement. In a 10-part series, The Globe and Mail looks at the 10 jobs expected to be in highest demand in B.C. in the next decade. This is part two.

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When Manny Dhillon began working as a container truck driver eight years ago, he felt he had landed a dream job of sorts: Being an owner-operator meant he was his own boss; long drives between Horseshoe Bay and Hope meant freedom from an office and an opportunity to meet new people; and his hourly wage of $18 an hour was a comfortable living wage at the time, he says.

But while the cost of living has gone up over the years, Mr. Dhillon – who recently became a spokesman for the United Truckers Association (UTA) – says truckers’ wages have largely flatlined. In fact, most truckers are now paid by the load, rather than by the hour, and long wait times at port facilities cut into take-home pay, Mr. Dhillon said.

“Things have deteriorated over time,” he said. “The [cost of living] is more expensive … but the pay rate has deteriorated over time and workers have been exploited by having long work hours and less pay.”

Wait times and pay rates were two of the main issues that prompted both unionized and non-unionized truckers to go on strike earlier this year, choking the movement of goods through Port Metro Vancouver for nearly a month. While the truckers and provincial and federal governments have since reached an agreement, the truckers are again threatening job action, saying some companies are refusing to comply with agreed-upon pay rate increases.

“If the pay was standardized across the sector, this would be a really good job,” Mr. Dhillon said. “You get to be on the move all the time, the environment around you changes all the time. The movement is a big factor: It keeps your mind open and keeps you going.” He described a typical day as starting at 6 a.m. and lasting for 10 to 12 hours. Under B.C.’s Motor Vehicle Act, a driver cannot drive more than 13 hours without an off-duty period.

Transport truck driver is expected to be the second most in-demand skilled job in B.C. over the next decade; 16,300 will be needed by 2022, according to government statistics.

According to the latest census figures, 96 per cent of truckers employed in B.C. in 2006 were male.

Click here or scroll down for fast facts on being a transport truck driver:

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10 jobs expected to be in highest demand in B.C. in the next decade

Job Title Number of job openings over the next 10 years
Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses 24,660
Transport truck drivers 16,300
Carpenters 13,690
Financial auditors and accountants 13,450
Cooks 10,210
Early childhood educators and assistants 9,050
Construction trades helpers and labourers 8,170
Electricians (except industrial and power system) 7,230
Heavy equipment operators (except crane) 6,760
Welders and related machine operators 3,890

Areas with greatest needs

Training requirements

Skill Level

Hazards

What you'll earn

According to census statistics, the provincial average salary is between

and

The provincial average full-time hourly rate ranges between

and

Tom Cardoso, Alexandra Posadzki, Andrea Woo, Mason Wright and Murat Yukselir/The Globe and Mail » Source: Government of British Columbia

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