Truck driver recruitment advertising agency Conversion Interactive Agency, in partnership with People Data Analytics (PDA), released its Fall 2023 Driver Survey, which revealed 56.1% of truck drivers are optimistic that the freight recession will soon be over, but also detailed 33.3% of drivers are currently in search of new jobs.
The agency said the survey delves into various critical topics, including assessing the level of optimism among drivers regarding the state of the freight market. It also explores the pivotal factors that lead drivers to contemplate making a change in their employment, and the preferences they hold when exploring new driving opportunities.
Conversion reported 56.1% of drivers responded “yes,” they were optimistic about the impending end of the freight recession.
These results reflecting a positive sentiment within the industry were surprising, said Conversion, because it suggests drivers may believe the current freight recession will come to an end soon.
Historically, the agency said, freight recessions have typically lasted 18-22 months, the current window for this economic downturn, although concrete data indicating a recovery is yet to materialize.
Looking For New Jobs
For the fourth consecutive biannual survey, more than half of the surveyed drivers affirmed they are not actively seeking new driving opportunities.
However, the survey findings revealed that 33.3% of drivers are currently in search of employment, a figure that remains virtually unchanged from the previous spring survey when 33.8% of drivers expressed a desire for new opportunities.
Over the years, as Conversion and PDA have consistently tracked this metric, it has remained remarkably consistent, with one-third of surveyed drivers consistently indicating their intention to explore other truck driving roles. Conversion said this statistic is important to carriers in the transportation industry as it signals the challenge they face in attracting additional drivers to their fleets.
Top Driver Concerns
In response to inquiries about their top concerns, drivers have voiced two primary worries:
- Meeting monthly bills (72.4%) and
- The importance of home and family (59.5%)
Additionally, nearly 40% of respondents, reflecting the aging workforce in the industry, have expressed concerns about saving for retirement.
“These results underscore the significance of work-life balance and family-related concerns in the lives of our drivers. The concern over retirement savings aligns with the age demographics observed in the survey,” said Scott Dismuke, vice president of operations at PDA.
When asked what they would do if they were in control of a trucking company and had the opportunity to take a single action to attract and retain drivers, 36.4% expressed the need to increase pay while 23.3% recommended guaranteeing a minimum pay or mileage/loads.
"Approximately a quarter of drivers lean toward providing a guaranteed minimum pay or mileage. It's worth noting that many existing 'guaranteed pay' models are not genuine guarantees; they come with conditions,” said Dismuke. “It's essential to exercise caution when employing the term 'guarantee' as drivers experiencing a 'guarantee' that falls short of expectations are at nearly double the risk of turnover.”