Business Development Manager
As the trucking industry continues to grow in numerous sectors, the amount of retiring and aging truck drivers is mounting. The industry shortage of qualified and, more importantly, quality drivers is increasing at an alarming rate. The American Trucking Association estimates that the current shortage is about 25,000 and demand will grow by roughly 100,000 new drivers each year for the next ten years.
Truckload carriers specifically will be impacted the most with a shortage projected at over 200,000 by 2022. A survey released in early 2013 of for-hire truckload carriers found that 90% said they couldn’t find enough drivers who are capable of meeting DOT requirements.
In addition to the number of drivers moving into retirement, many others have decided to exit the industry altogether due to undesirable working conditions. The sedentary lifestyle, constant attentiveness, and stressful environment lead to long days, nights and even weekends on the road and away from home.
Young drivers aren’t exactly flowing into the industry either. The majority of young people are finding work well before they can receive their CDL and become insurable by most carriers at age 23. Most individuals would prefer not to start over with a new company and industry after spending years establishing themselves. So as the number of professionals leaving trucking expands, the number entering shrinks; thus the shortage.
The lack of drivers has created substantial challenges for motor carriers.
Turnover rates are at record highs. Competition for the best drivers is fierce with many companies adding new benefits, higher wages, and other perks to lure in any driver that is performing well.
Inexperienced and often unsafe drivers are being hired because companies simply can’t fulfill current obligations or capitalize on new opportunities with their current employees. For many, if a driver meets the minimum qualifications, he or she is hired.
CSA Regulation is hitting many motor carriers hard. High turnover often leads to drivers being poorly or under-trained. More noncompliant trucks and drivers are out on the road. Fines and inspections are increasing resulting in safety scores decreasing.
To help motor carriers overcome these challenges, here are 10 tips to attract new and retain current drivers.
- Put time and effort into job listings and advertisements
- Encourage and incentivize word of mouth referrals from drivers
- Communicate compensation, benefits, and home time
- Screen candidates with untraditional measures
- Analyze your most successful drivers for the ideal profile
- Be selective and diligent in determining driver trainers
- Train fleet managers and dispatchers continuously
- Collect and evaluate driver complaints and suggestions
- Schedule drivers to meet company leadership
- Create accountability and reward programs
Committing to a driver recruiting and retention program is necessary to acquire and keep quality drivers in this environment. Every trucking company needs a proactive risk management plan to address the issues the driver shortage has created. A capable risk management partner will be a competitive advantage for motor carriers looking to capitalize as trucking expands and scrutiny intensifies.