Recruiting and retaining drivers continue to present challenges for leaders at truckload carriers, large and small.
A report from the American Trucking Associations (ATA) found that in 2021, the driver shortage hit a historic high of over 80,000 drivers and that this deficit will likely continue to increase.
Increasingly, prospective team members are looking to work with companies that have a driver-first culture. Drivers want to feel supported by their employers, which includes having access to the tools they need to do their job safely and efficiently — with as little stress as possible — and get home to their families.
Leaders like you are looking for strategies to build and maintain a company culture that drivers want to be a part of. Implementing telematics technology and software solutions enhances driver experience on the road and empowers them to improve their skill set, helping you develop a highly desirable driver-first company culture.
Tackling Today’s High Turnover & Driver Shortage
The driver shortage is a multifaceted issue that doesn’t have just one cause. High turnover is closely related to the shortage. At the end of 2020, the annualized turnover rate for carriers with over $30 million in revenue was 92%, while small truckload carriers saw a rate of 72%.
New technology can’t completely resolve turnover issues related to seasonality or drivers’ desire for a career change, but it can help in attracting new drivers and make significant improvements to their job satisfaction, which helps retain them.
One of the major contributing factors to turnover rates is that as older drivers retire, companies can’t recruit younger drivers fast enough to cover the widening deficit. The average age of private fleet drivers is 57, while the median age of over-the-road drivers is 46. The average age of drivers currently in training programs is 35.
Appealing to younger millennials will allow trucking companies to grow their workforce. This includes understanding what these digital natives want from their working lives and how to employ benefits and technology to attract them to the company.
Another factor contributing to the industry shortage and the turnover rate is how drivers feel about the nature of the job itself. In a survey of drivers by the Commercial Carrier Journal (CCJ), half of respondents said that a lack of home time was a barrier to successful recruiting, while 53% said they feel companies aren’t doing enough to put their drivers’ experience first and treat them as valued team members.
To retain drivers, companies need to differentiate themselves from their competitors by focusing on providing excellent employee experiences. Improving how drivers feel while on the road and respecting the time they want to spend off-duty have major impacts on keeping new hires over the long term.
Today’s drivers want more autonomy around when and how they work, but they also want to feel like they are a valuable member of their team.
Cater to a Growth-Minded Workforce
In a recent survey from Gallup, 59% of millennial respondents reported that opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them when looking for new job opportunities. 44% of Gen Xers and 41% of baby boomers also list this factor as a top priority.
While the survey showed that the generations have similar needs when it comes to the workplace, one key difference is that millennial job-seekers behave more like consumers when looking for jobs. This means that they shop around for the opportunities that best fit their needs and they aren’t afraid to leave a job to find something better – likely contributing to the high turnover in the industry.
Offering opportunities for growth and development will help you attract and keep talent.