There may be no end in sight for the driver shortage. Results from HireRight’s transportation survey show that even as 79 percent of fleets look to increase their workforces, drivers are leaving the industry for jobs that offer more money or a better quality of life.
The trucking industry currently faces a shortage of roughly 25,000 drivers, according to the American Trucking Associations, and turnover is so high that 96,000 new drivers need to be hired every year just to keep up.
The Transportation Spotlight data revealed several of areas of importance to drivers when making their decisions to leave the field. More than half, 51 percent, leave for higher incomes, while 41 percent leave to spend more time at home. Better benefit packages are also a draw for 27 percent of drivers who seek other careers. The stress of increasing regulations pushes some drivers to look for other options. The hours of service rule, a pending requirement for electronic logging devices and federal safety scores are among the regulations with the biggest impacts.
To offset the shortage, trucking firms engage in a number of recruiting and retention efforts. Performance bonuses and signing bonuses are two common incentives. Some carriers attempt to draw in new drivers by trying to shape their jobs around the drivers’ preferred locations and home schedules when possible.
To reach potential drivers in the first place, 74 percent of carriers use employee referrals as their top recruiting tools. More than half also use online job boards and print media, while 37 percent of carriers attract candidates through job fairs. Employers are expanding their searches to include some untraditional labor pools such as transitioning military personnel and dislocated workers.
Only 25 percent of carriers employ social media to recruit driver prospects. With smartphone use up among drivers, social media may become an important tool for fighting the driver shortage in the future.