Results from Transport Capital Partners' Fourth Quarter 2012 Business Expectations found that over 80% of carriers surveyed are willing to support allowing younger, properly trained drivers to enter the driving pool.

With an increase in driver turnover to over 100% in the third quarter of 2012, carriers are looking for new ways to attract quality, long-term drivers.
"Most carriers know that turnover levels have doubled since the recession, which has continued to negatively impact our industry," observes Richard Mikes, TCP Partner."Past surveys have indicated that pay must go up to significantly higher levels over the long-term. Once construction and manufacturing begin to ramp up, many drivers will leave the wheel for more family-friendly time at home. Driver attraction and retention will continue to be an important issue for carriers." Carriers over $25 million were slightly more supportive than smaller carriers of allowing younger, properly trained drivers (86% vs. 77%).

Currently, only 30% of the carriers surveyed hire inexperienced entry-level drivers. Larger carriers are more inclined to spend the time, money, and effort to develop entry-level drivers than smaller carriers (38% vs. 12%). While only a third of the carriers currently use entry-level drivers, in the future, 51% of the carriers expect to be hiring inexperienced, entry-level drivers and training them. Larger carriers see this option at a rate of 2:1 to the smaller carriers (62% vs. 28%). "Investment in effective training programs will be essential to our industry," states Steven Dutro, TCP Partner. "Those who are successful in properly training and developing loyalty will gain a real competitive advantage. Developing the proper programs and corporate culture should be considered a critical investment in the future."

Regardless of how carriers find drivers, they all acknowledge they are going to have to pay them more. Sixty-six percent expect that wages will increase up to 5%, down slightly from six months ago when 71% were expecting wage increases. "Current operating margins allow little room to raise driver compensation levels," emphasizes Mikes. "Everyone in the supply chain needs to recognize the critical need to pay a little more to keep quality drivers moving the freight." Almost 80% of carriers expect that wages will increase in the next year.