Transportation Jobs Outlook

Job prospects in the transportation industry continue to be bright, according to associations of companies in that industry. Read the following three briefings for details.

TRANSPORTATION BRIEFING / ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS (AAR)

Class I Railroads

Union Pacific Railroad

BNSF Railway

CSX Transportation

Norfolk Southern Railway

Canadian National Railway

Canadian Pacific Railway

Kansas City Southern Railway Co.

The nation’s freight rail network spans the continental United States and Alaska, and employs more than 180,000 men and women. The seven large Class I railroads – including two Canadian railways – working in cooperation with hundreds of smaller railroads and tens of thousands of rail customers, deliver economic growth, support job creation, and provide environmental benefits such as reduced highway gridlock and cleaner air.

Almost entirely privately owned and operated, America’s freight railroads in recent years have been reinvesting more than ever before — including a record $26 billion of their own funds for their nearly 140,000-mile network in 2014.

Freight railroads serve nearly every industrial, wholesale, retail, and resource-based sector of our economy. More than 560 freight railroads operate in the United States. The seven Class I railroads account for 69 percent of freight rail mileage, 90 percent of employees, and 94 percent of revenue. Class I railroads typically operate in many different states over thousands of miles of track. Non-Class I railroads – also known as short line and regional railroads – range in size from tiny operations handling a few carloads a month to multi-state operators not far from Class I size.

AAR is the standard-setting organization for North America's railroads, focused on improving the safety and productivity of rail transportation. AAR helps advance these goals through its two subsidiaries, the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI), and the Railinc Corporation. TTCI is a research, development, and testing facility that develops next-generation advancements in safety and efficiency. Railinc is a resource for rail data, information technology, and information services; it uses one of the world's largest data networks to track customer shipments.

Railroads provide more than 180,000 jobs, and they support over 1 million more jobs in industries as diverse as manufacturing, agriculture, and technology. America’s freight railroads are hiring – and in 2015 expect to hire more than 12,000 people. The jobs pay well, they are located all across the country, and they often lead to long careers in railroading. Freight rail employee compensation, including benefits, averages $109,400 per year – with jobs ranging from engineers and dispatchers to law enforcement, information technology, and industrial development.

The nation’s freight railroads continue to hire veterans at a robust pace. Nearly one in four of the estimated 15,000 new employees freight railroads will hire in 2015 has served in our nation’s military; between 20 percent and 25 percent of current employees have served. Railroads value the attitude and skill set of servicemen and servicewomen. Veterans have a disciplined background, with special capabilities and qualities that help them keep freight railroads efficient and safe.

From experience working with machinery, to a dedication and focus on safety of operations, to conducting shifts in changing conditions, veterans are suited for long and successful careers in the railroad industry. Experience gained while on military duty relates directly to virtually all kinds of jobs at railroads Freight railroads are consistently honored for their military recruiting efforts and enhanced benefit programs for employees called to active duty. AAR, in collaboration with the nation’s major freight, intercity passenger, and commuter railroads, as well as rail supply companies, is part of the White House Joining Forces initiative, a nationwide effort to recognize, honor, and support veterans and military families.

America’s Class I freight railroads have been recognized by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) for their long-standing commitment to support and hire guardsmen and women and reservists. In June 2012, AAR signed an official Statement of Support for the Guard and Reserve on behalf of the association and freight rail industry, and pledged to continue the industry’s tradition of extending veterans and servicemembers competitive wage and benefit packages.

TRANSPORTATION BRIEFING / AMERICAN BUS ASSOCIATION (ABA)

2014 marked the eighth consecutive year of growth for the scheduled service, point-to-point segment of the motorcoach industry. Free onboard amenities including Wi-Fi and 110 volt electric plug-ins, along with upgraded luxury service, are expanding. Expanding discount city-to-city carriers and traditional bus lines means there is a 2.2 percent increase in the number of daily operations on the nation’s bus system. This rate of growth is far exceeding air and train service. The growth in passenger traffic appears to be even higher.

This past Memorial Day weekend saw its highest level of passenger traffic on scheduled service motorcoach companies in at least 25 years, according to DePaul University. As many as 1.8 million people rode on motorcoaches during what’s considered the Memorial Day Weekend (May 20-25). That’s up 5 percent from last year. According to the American Bus Association Foundation's latest Motorcoach Census, the entire motorcoach industry provides an estimated 1.65 million passenger trips on a typical day, or 605 million passenger trips on a yearly basis. Over the six-day period surrounding Memorial Day, those figures would translate into nearly 10 million total passenger trips on all forms of motorcoach service, including scheduled, charter, and tour.

Motorcoach companies offer a wide variety of services. About 97 percent provide charter services, 45 percent offer tour services, 21 percent are designated for sightseeing, 25 percent are for airport shuttle services, 23 percent are scheduled service, 15 percent are special operations, and 10 percent provide commuter services. Charter service account for nearly 48 percent of motorcoach service mileage, followed by scheduled service at 31 percent.

In 2012, the motorcoach industry provided jobs to nearly 133,000 people. Of those, 72,600 were full-time, and 61,000 were part-time. On average, each motorcoach company provided 33.6 jobs, or 3.4 jobs per motorcoach. Motorcoach-based tourism generates as many as 1,389,670 jobs in communities across the United States, paying almost $55.7 billion in wages and benefits.

ABA, founded in 1926, represents the motorcoach, travel, and tourism industry. The organization serves charter and group bus operators, and tour operators that do frequent business with the motorcoach industry. It also works closely with destinations, conventions and visitors bureaus, equipment manufacturers, and other businesses that interact daily with the motorcoach industry.

The motorcoach, travel and tourism industry offers a wide variety of employment opportunities. Jobs can range from a receptionist in the office to the head of a company’s IT department, a person who handles dispatching, a maintenance worker or mechanic, a driver, a bus washer and cleaner, a marketing director, or a tour guide.

The industry is expanding. So a veteran who has a desire to work hard, learn, and work well with colleagues can find a very good career in the industry. The industry is always looking for good drivers. Driving a motorcoach – on a charter or tour, or as part of scheduled service – requires many skills. A driver must have an uncompromising attitude when it comes to safety and following government and company rules and regulations. Military people understand this, due to their experience with a chain of command and their respect for authority. Good jobs are also available for mechanics, especially people who have worked on heavy diesel-powered equipment.

Tour planners as well as management and marketing personnel must have leadership skills – another strong suit among veterans. Several states, including North Carolina, Virginia, and, Texas, are making it easier for veterans to secure commercial driver’s licenses with passenger endorsement (CDL-P’s) – for example, for a veteran who had been a convoy driver in Iraq or Afghanistan and therefore has experience driving large, complex vehicles.

TRANSPORTATION BRIEFING / NATIONAL SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION ASSOCIATION (NTSA)

NSTA is the membership organization for school bus companies engaged primarily in transporting students to and from school as well as school-related activities under contract to public school districts. About one-third of the nation’s school bus fleet is currently contracted.

The organization’s members offer a range of services – from full turn-key service to management operations and specialized transportation. NSTA members range from small family businesses serving one district to large corporations operating thousands of buses across many states. The organization’s members are located throughout the country.

Jobs within the industry include school bus drivers and mechanics as well as a wide range of administrative and management positions. NSTA’s members manage their own hiring needs and requirements, but there is currently a significant school-bus driver shortage across the country. There is also always a need for technicians and managers to support those drivers. Several NSTA members have been actively but independently involved with veteran hiring initiatives.

Friday November 13, 2015

This article appeared in the September-October 2015 issue of Search & Employ Magazine