May 3, 2022
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It’s no secret carriers are facing an unprecedented driver shortage. Many seasoned drivers are retiring, but there are also younger drivers leaving their employer for another gig or exiting the trucking industry entirely for a different career. It's important to think about the reasons drivers leave their jobs or careers so you can keep your drivers on board for the long term. Talk to your employees regularly and try to resolve any issues they report so that they feel valued by their employer and positive about the industry as a whole.
Truck driver wages have been notoriously low for several years. Many companies pay drivers by the mile. This means that time spent in traffic, waiting at a shipper or receiver facility, or waiting out bad weather is unpaid. And with so many job opportunities in other industries that don’t require these unpaid hours, many drivers are finding work in other areas.
Driving OTR means spending a lot of time away from home and loved ones. This can be difficult for many people, especially parents with young kids or adults who need to care for aging parents. Some drivers think that this won’t be an issue for them and then discover after a few years or so that they need or want to be home more. Many carriers do not offer local routes or options for drivers who need to be home every night. So those employees find a different career.
This can go both ways. As an employer, you need to make sure to set realistic goals for your employees. Make them feel like their goals are achievable, and always keep in mind the FMCSA rules regarding Hours of Service. It is also a good idea to make sure your new drivers know what to expect from your company in terms of pay, benefits, and work-life balance. You want to be completely honest with your employees about both the pros and cons of working as a truck driver. Onboarding and training new drivers is expensive. You want your new recruits to stick with you for at least a few years so you can recoup your investment in them.
Many drivers are approaching retirement age, and there are not enough young drivers to take their places and keep up with increased demand for drivers. The average age of a truck driver in the United States is 46. And the average age of new drivers just entering the industry is 35. Recruiting entry level drivers is essential to reducing the strain of the driver shortage.
Carriers are experiencing high turnover rates due to low pay and uncertainty regarding the future of trucking. Many drivers are worried that they will be replaced with autonomous vehicles, and carriers are struggling to assure their drivers that they will still be employed in a few years.
Women only make up about 10% of the truck driver workforce. Trucking companies have a big opportunity to minimize the driver shortage by recruiting and retaining more female drivers. This is an almost untapped market of potential employees new to the industry, but many carriers are struggling to attract them.
Unfortunately there’s no single solution for keeping drivers happy. Every driver is different, and everyone wants different things from their job. We know that competitive pay and benefits, consistent schedules, and properly maintained equipment are all things drivers look for when deciding which carriers to consider. Make sure to talk to your employees so you can personalize the solutions to your fleet.
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