Carriers Report Difficulty Hiring Qualified Employees at Critical Positions

July 18, 2013

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The most recent Transport Capital Partners Survey reveals carriers experiencing problems finding qualified employees and drivers.

In the 2nd quarter TCP Business Expectations Survey, 65% of carriers noted having difficulty finding qualified maintenance technicians. Additionally, 30% indicated they are having problems filling operations staff and fleet manager level positions.

“Fleet owners are telling us that staffing trucks is becoming a challenge," says Steven Dutro, TCP partner.

Shortages of drivers, technicians, and fleet managers are reinforcing carriers’ concerns about adding capacity at this time. 70% of larger carriers in the survey say they are having trouble finding qualified technicians. Among smaller carriers, 50% are experiencing the same hiring difficulties.

“Good employees, at all levels, have always been the lifeblood of the industry,” says TCP partner Richard Mikes. “Now, as we see growth in demand on the horizon, excellent human resource management is critical.”

Driver Pay

“The cost metrics of carriers are trending up in a period where rates are not still rising fast enough. It is no wonder carriers are hesitant to buy new equipment or raise pay to their employees,” observed Steven Dutro.

In the 2nd quarter survey, only 50% of carriers reported adequate rates of return on their investments. Additionally, the 1st quarter TCP survey revealed that 40% of carriers have seen their engine-related maintenance costs rise.

As a result, most carriers are insistant that rate increases precede any wage increases. More than 90% of larger carriers reported needing to see rates increase before they can raise driver wages.

“As contruction and manufacturing jobs expand, the competition to hire and retain qualified drivers has increased," Mikes says. "Ultimately, better operating margins, that lead to higher driver competition, are essential.”


  1. 1. Greg Foreman [ July 20, 2013 @ 12:51PM ]

    The industry wouldn't be suffering if the participants knew what they were doing. Half the trucking companies are ran by individuals that have no appreciation of the industry or the forces effecting the industry. It is a shame, but the trucking industries greatest liability can be found in the personal running it.


  2. 2. Lee Lenard [ July 20, 2013 @ 04:37PM ]

    Greg, could not agree more. .As a 41 year veteran in Traffic/transp/logistics having operated my own consulting service plus working in Management from Director of operations to every other function in Trucking I believe I have good basis for evaluations. After retiring from management I for fun became a driver and thru agencies work for many many companies. Many good companies have put themselves out of business because they will not hire knowledgeable seasoned and trained managers. Inside the larger companies, its about who married bosses daughter, granddaughter etc or what college connections exist...And guess who makes the really BIG BUCKS! Right, those who know nothing about what they are responsible for. I do find that smaller companies (25 operating power units or so) have best knowledgeable managers and often proprietors directly involved. $ do play an issue......many of lower level manager jobs are paying exactly what they paid 20 - 25 years ago, so no wonder they do not have anyone with knowledge or appreciation of the industry.

  3. 3. Dick Gaib [ July 21, 2013 @ 05:48AM ]

    We as a nation are getting what we paid for, not just in the transporation industry. We cut education funding, eliminated vocational education schooling, and thought that the computer geeks would solve all our problems. Non (most) of the under 40 year olds, can't think out side of the box. They have education, but never worked at the street level, of day to day jobs of the people they are susposed to direct. Ask most load planners, how long a load will take to deliver. Answer, the computer says X hrs, mins. No understanding of the different traffic in major cities, and they sure as hell do not know that the mileage distance they are shown are not routes that a bigrig can travel. The industry needs to demand that all routes be actual miles, over routes that are cleared for semi traffic at 80,000 lbs. This is a no brainer, as no one is effected, except the shipper or receiver. Some will pay more but they have been getting free miles for years, and the trucking companies/drivers have obsorbed the costs. If all charged the same, the industry would all gain. The problem in the shops, was caused by bean counters (accountants) that just look at the numbers, and say we can cut here, but just create problems on down the road. The old story , pay now, or pay latter, is so true.

  4. 4. Wayne Yoder [ July 22, 2013 @ 05:28AM ]

    I find it curious the survey indicates it is easier to find Safety Directors than diesel mechanic trade school graduates. Almost every county in the country has a trade school, yet there are entire states that do not have an educational program that teaches DOT, EPA, FDA, DHS, OSHA, CARB, DOL and IRS regulations in addition to myriad state requirements for transportation? Keep in mind most safety departments are compliance departments and also recruiting. Where do you learn about permits or IFTA reporting? How about accident investigation or root cause analysis? Insurance subrogation? Many law enforcement officers don't even understand the regulatory details like a trucking Safety Director is required to. Is it possible this survey simply shows the lack of thought given to or emphasis put on their safety programs?

  5. 5. cgstatus [ July 23, 2013 @ 09:45AM ]

    the problem is most companies hire management level employees based on their schooling thinking that because they have a degree in management that they are a good candidate. However, those applicants do not know the structure of the trucking industry. in order to be perfect for the position you have to know everyone's role in the company because everyone plays a big part in its success. you need to be up to date with all the regulations (DOT, HOS,IRP, IRS, IFTA, FMCSA, as well as the different regulations in each of the states in which your trucks travel) if you don't changes are you will experience many headaches. Just because a your taking a load 1,000 miles from where you pick up does not mean it will take 2 days (60mph * 22hrs) you have to take into account the route and if there are any restrictions for trucks. And this is where management falls shortn they don't take the simple details into account.


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