Carriers of all sizes expect driver wages to increase in 2015.  Graph by Transport Capital Partners.

Carriers of all sizes expect driver wages to increase in 2015. Graph by Transport Capital Partners.

A shortage of experienced drivers means carriers are hesitant to increase capacity, despite rising carrier costs and rates, according to the quarterly Transport Capital Partners Survey. To address the problem, carriers surveyed expect driver wages to increase by up to 10 percent in 2015.

In the TCP survey, more than 90% of carriers expected driver wages to increase by 6-10%, double the expectation from six months ago.

“Carriers remain hesitant to add capacity because of the shortage of experienced drivers, with replacement far outpacing additions on order boards for new tractors,” said Richard Mikes, TCP partner and survey leader.

The carriers in the survey were split by size into under $25 million in revenues and over $25 million. Larger carriers were more apt to predict a 6-10% increase in wages, while smaller carriers felt it was more likely to be in the 0-5% range.

The wage increase is part of an effort to attract experienced applicants who often go to other sectors like construction that can offer more benefits to drivers who want regular hours and access to better pay. The higher rates are being plowed into wages and other costs.

“Revenue from rate increases will go into purchasing new equipment, driver wages, rising maintenance costs and regulatory costs,” said Steven Dutro, TCP Partner.

Carriers also overwhelmingly support proposals to allow drivers under 21 years old to drive with proper training, in interstate commerce. As much as 84% of carriers support it, including smaller carriers that typically don’t hire inexperienced drivers.