U.S. trucking companies often find it difficult to hire quality drivers for their transportation fleets. Despite offering what they consider attractive incentives to fill vacancies, most of them find it challenging to build a brand, beat out the competition for the best drivers, and offer the right amount of benefits. As a matter of fact, recruiting and retaining quality truck drivers has become a big standalone business that can cost millions of dollars, year after year, for companies in the transportation industry.
What are some of the best ways to overcome these challenges and build a fleet of top-notch, satisfied drivers?
Understanding the Problem
You may feel like improving your transportation company’s driver recruitment and retention is a heavy load. But the first step is to understand where to target your improvement efforts.
- Shortage of Drivers: There was a shortage of 35,000 truck drivers in 2015, with the number estimated to scale to 240,000 by 2020 if not dealt with wisely.
- Replacement Costs: A moderate estimate to replace an ordinary driver is $2,000, a figure that goes up when it comes to specialized carriers.
- Driver Turnover: These numbers have been historically as high as 50%, which many trucking companies consider normal.
- Female and Minority Drivers: About 5.8% of truck drivers were women and 38.6% were minorities in 2015, according to the American Trucking Association (ATA), and the industry perennially struggles to increase these numbers.
Improving your recruiting efforts by focusing on these areas will give your company a competitive advantage. Ideally, you should be able to derive a plan which can offer maximized results, and yet require minimal efforts from you. By working on the key aspects of recruitment, such as market targeting, creating a strong brand, determining and meeting drivers’ needs, and looking beyond traditional ways of building a fleet, you can see some great improvements.
Best Practices for Improving Driver Retention
According to the ATA, there are some basic things you can do to improve driver recruitment and retention:
- Increase drivers’ pay: Everyone works for wages, right? Truck drivers’ wages, unfortunately, are not that attractive. Increasing regular wages, adding bonuses and perks, etc. can help your trucking company attract new employees and keep current ones.
- More time for the family and home: No one likes to stay away from home forever, and many people hesitate to take up this job just because of this aspect. Giving them sufficient time off can help them change their mind about participating in this industry.
- Work on improving the image of a truck driver: The perception of drivers in the United States is often not positive. Efforts to express appreciation for their efforts can help turn things around in the area of PR for the industry.
- Hire former military personnel: Recent regulatory changes pushed by the ATA resulted in waivers of licensing skills tests to obtain a civilian commercial driver’s license and the ability of vets to take CDL tests in the states where they’re stationed, rather than their home states, according to the ATA. .
- Lower the interstate driving age: Right now, the legal interstate driving age is 21, but people in 18 to 20 years segment also suffer high unemployment. Supporting efforts to lower the interstate driving age rules could create a win-win situation for all.
- Secure better treatment in the supply chain: Many drivers often complain about mistreatment by those in charge of shipping facilities, including issues related to accessing washrooms, longer wait times, speaking rudely, etc. Addressing these issues with the concerned actors in the supply chain would go a long way toward helping drivers achieve the respect they deserve.
Expand Your Understanding of Transportation Trends
Join AudioSolutionz’s Transportation Virtual Boot Camp with transportation industry experts Mark Dixon and Dave Malenfant, and find out more ways to boost driver recruitment and retention, as well as gain a better understanding of current trends in the trucking sector of the transportation industry. Mark and Dave can teach you how to handle any compliance situation and make sure your company is updated on the latest regulatory and industry developments.