It employs hundreds of thousands of Canadians. It plays a major role in the national economy. And the pay isn’t bad, either.

Yet despite all of that, people in the trucking industry say, finding people interested in driving trucks is a challenge.

“Trucking typically gets a bad rap, which in my opinion is undeserved,” says John Way, the general manager of Guelph-based trucking company Wayfreight Services.

According to the Canadian Trucking Alliance, nearly 300,000 Canadians work as truck drivers. By 2020, the industry is expected to be about 30,000 drivers short of filling all its open positions.

While the gap may not be so prominent just yet, there are plenty of signs around advertising employment opportunities for anyone willing to get the proper training and get behind the wheel.

Richard Wynia, the president of Tri-County Training – which trains about 150 people per year on how to drive trucks – says he’s seeing a “very high” demand for people with AZ-class licences.

Way chalks the issue up to misconceptions about what a truck driving career entails. He says the industry is often portrayed as more difficult or less lucrative than it is.

“We as carriers haven’t necessarily done the best job of educating potential new drivers as to what’s really involved in the industry,” he says.

“It’s a complicated issue and a challenging one, but certainly not an insurmountable one.”

Like most careers, jobs in trucking come with advantages and benefits.

Way describes trucking as a well-paying, stable field of work where careers can often last for 20 years or more – and can take people to places they’d never get to otherwise.

“If you have a little bit of wanderlust and you want to see North America, this is a great way to do it,” he says.

Wynia notes the same positives, along with the occasional hassles of dealing with traffic and potentially spending long periods of time away from family members.

“Some people think it’s an easy job,” he says.

“It’s not such an easy job, necessarily.”