According to a recent report from Stay Metrics, while driver turnover rates spiked early in the first quarter of 2020, they soon began trending down and dropped to all-time lows in March.
The new report tracks turnover rates on a weekly basis to show how drivers responded to changing market conditions that directly impacted their pay. It shows a major shift in the turnover paradigm for the first quarter, with turnover spiking for all truckload sectors before the coronavirus pandemic, but not necessarily due to a positive economic environment. Some freight sectors experienced disruptions before the COVID-19 pandemic that could explain the turnover spike.
“Fleet executives and managers cannot fall asleep at the wheel,” said Tim Hindes, Stay Metrics Co-Founder and CEO. “Now is the time to double down on retention efforts. Let drivers know they belong to a stable organization that is essential to the economy and also use this period to rebuild driver-focused cultures.”
Key findings in the report include:
- This sector had comparatively higher turnover than other sectors. Rates spiked in the second week of January to 107.1% before the trendlines split for oil and gas haulers and food-grade haulers.
- In the third week of January, oil and gas haulers saw a sudden dip from 106.1% to 62.9%. The decline could be explained by the decrease in oil production in the U.S.
- Drivers in this sector may have transitioned to food-grade tankers and other industry sectors. In February, the turnover rate for oil and gas haulers jumped from 78% to 119.1% and stayed elevated during the middle three weeks of March (118%, 106.6% and 112.8%) before returning to 68.6% the last week.
- By contrast, the turnover rate of food-grade tank haulers increased slightly in early February to 93.6% and fell steadily through March to reach a low of 47.8% before a slight spike at the end of March to 68.6%.
- Flatbed also had comparatively high turnover. This sector saw a substantial spike in the third week of January from 94.6% to 124.3%, followed by a noticeable dip in the fourth week of February from 91.0% to 62.9%. Rates increased in the second week of March from 70.2% to 98.3% and fell through the end of March to reach 57.2%.
- Refrigerated transport saw a major spike in mid-February. Shipments of food and produce items were stable throughout the health crisis and may explain why drivers in this sector tended to stay with their carriers. By the end of the quarter, turnover reached a low of 42.6%.
- This sector also had comparatively low turnover. A substantial spike occurred the third week of February (51.0% to 64.0%) but dropped to 53.0% the next week and held steady through the last week of March.