Photo: FMCSA

Photo: FMCSA

With no end in sight to the demand for truck drivers, an annual benchmark survey released on April 6 finds that the importance of developing innovative recruitment and retention strategies is becoming paramount and more technology-based.

HireRight said its 2017 Transportation Spotlight report indicates that trucking companies are seeking to improve “the candidate experience” to better their chances of recruiting top talent and replacing retiring drivers.

The employee background-screening firm noted that with 33% of drivers leaving for retirement, employers are “turning to a more digital, transparent hiring process to attract younger drivers, shying away from traditional recruitment tactics” in favor or social media recruitment and a “mobile-friendly screening process.”

The survey reveals several trends, including:

  • Driver retirement rates continue to increase (33% in 2016, up from 22% in 2014)
  • Drivers are leaving their employers:
  1. To make more money (47%)
  2. To spend more time at home (42%)
  3. For better benefits (27%)
  4. Because of health issues (21%)
  • Finding employees (68% of respondents) and retaining employees (68% of respondents) top the list of planned investments for 2017, with respondents also investing in:
  1. Developing more effective employee training programs (33%)
  2. Improving their candidate experience from application through onboarding (30%)

“To address the increasing driver shortage, the trucking industry is investing in new recruitment and retention strategies, as evident in this year’s survey results,” said Steven Spencer, managing director of transportation at HireRight.

These organizations are constantly working to: 1) improve their candidate experience both during and after the recruiting process, 2) decrease risk through background checks, and 3) improve the health and safety of their drivers for the public – all while emphasizing a positive lifestyle to attract younger talent." he continued.

Spencer noted that "it’s not an easy balance to find, especially in such a highly regulated and safety-centric industry. The balance to strike is one of making the process simple, transparent and enjoyable through open communication between the employer and their workforce.” 

HireRight said that in endeavoring to secure the next generation of drivers, employers are:

  • Moving away from traditional recruitment tactics like online job boards (down 10% from last year)
  • Reducing outreach through print media/trade publications (down 6% from last year)
  • Increasing the use of social networking (up 13% from last year, with 63% of large organizations (500+ employees) engaging in social media recruitment)

The most common strategies for improving the candidate experience include increasing follow-up communication with candidates (61%) and using a mobile-friendly application and screening process (40%). 

To both attract candidates and retain employees, fleets are also:

  • Using new-hire engagement tactics to avoid the “hire and retire” syndrome, with longer orientation and training periods being used by more than a third (35%) of survey respondents 
  • Investing in lifestyle and wellness benefits, with a 6% increase in the number of both wellness education/workshops offered and weight loss contests/programs employed
  • Increasing pay (50%)
  • Using performance-based bonuses (41%) to improve retention
  • Employing non-monetary tactics including driver appreciation events (55%)
  • Instituting flexible work arrangements (36%)

The HireRight 2017 Annual Employment Screening Benchmark Report is based on a survey of nearly 4,000 human resources, recruiting, security, and management professionals.

Of the total survey respondents, 15% indicated that their primary industry is transportation. The results described in HireRight’s 2017 Transportation Spotlight report were compiled from those transportation industry respondents.

To learn more from HireRight, click here.