Driver turnover in the truckload sector continues to get worse, according to recently released figures, while a study of hard-to-fill occupations emphasizes the growing driver shortage.
Truckload driver turnover at fleets doing more than $30 million in business annually rose 11 percentage points in the second quarter of the year from the first quarter to an annual rate of 103%, according to recently released figures from the American Trucking Associations. This is its highest level since the third quarter of 2012 and four percentage points above a year earlier.
Turnover at small truckload fleets, those with less than $30 million revenue, surged 16 points from the previous quarter to 94%, the highest level since the third quarter of 2012 and 12 percentage points more than during the same time in 2013.
ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said the shortage is “as bad as ever and is expected to get worse in the near term,” as freight volumes continue to grow.
“These turnover rates show that the shortage is acute,” he said, “and if the freight economy continues to grow, it will worsen very quickly.”
In sharp contrast, as usual, driver turnover at less-than-truckload fleets was much lower, coming in at just 11% annually, one percentage point than in the first quarter. Anectodal reports, however, indicate even LTLs are struggling more than usual to find drivers, and Con-way recently announced changes to its tuition program to address the problem.
The figures come as many fleets say they have been having a hard time finding qualified drivers and if a new report is indeed true, it is likely going to stay that say.
The American Staffing Association’s new Skills Gap Index, which tracks the hardest to fill occupations in the U.S., ranks truck drivers as the third most difficult, behind occupational therapists and physical therapists.
“The ASA Skills Gap Index quantifies the severity of the skills shortage in America,” said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “These new U.S. skills gap data will be used by economists, journalists, government officials, and, most important, staffing firms as they work with clients to develop workforce solutions and devise effective talent acquisition strategies.”
The skills gap index was developed by ASA, with its corporate partner CareerBuilder.com, measuring the level of difficulty to recruit for a specific occupation based on demand, supply of active candidates, and total population working in it.