YOU’RE PAYING DRIVERS MORE WHILE turning away freight because you can’t hire enough qualified professionals to get the jobs done. Unable to meet customer demands and unwilling to compromise standards, you don’t have much choice. Meanwhile, increasing freight costs are impacting consumers who usually take the trucking industry for granted; they are starting to feel the burn as they realize their goods are out of stock or sporting a higher price tag. The pain is real, and it’s affecting carriers, shippers, drivers, consumers, and the economy at large.

Whether attributed to a driver shortage or high churn, there’s no getting around the fact trucking has long faced challenges when it comes to finding and keeping qualified CDL drivers. A 2018 survey by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) identified the driver shortage as the biggest problem facing the U.S. trucking industry — and the predicament does not appear to be going away. According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the industry was short by about 60,800 drivers in 2018, a jump of nearly 20% from 2017’s total of 50,700.

If current trends continue, ATA predicts the shortage could rise to over 160,000 by 2028 — which means the trucking industry would need to hire close to 1.1 million new drivers (about 110,000 per year) in the next decade. Maintaining a competitive edge under such circumstances requires intentionality, with recruitment and reten­tion strategies topping the priority list for motor carriers.

Successful retention goes hand-in-hand with recruitment. It’s not enough to get drivers hired on; they need to remain loyal employees for your investment to pay off. Research from StayMetrics reveals more than 70% of driver turnover occurs within the first year of employment, with 35% of drivers leaving in the first three months. When you consider the costs of recruiting, hiring, and training new drivers, these are alarming statistics.

The need to understand why drivers leave and what you can do to encourage them to stay is urgent — and don’t think it all comes down to wages. While pay is a factor, there are other issues you can address to attract a committed staff of qualified, satisfied drivers.

Included in this issue is a guide to assist you in developing successful recruitment and retention strategies. During the month ahead, we will present a variety of resources designed to help you navigate some of the biggest obstacles and implement viable solutions. There is hope for the future of trucking and for the success of your business, but it requires a proactive approach to overcoming the hurdles of the driver shortage.

Driver Recruitment and Retention Month was created for the immediate and long-term benefit of both your business and your drivers. This month, we are focusing on solutions to the persistent driver shortage problem, by hiring and keeping drivers to meet the industry’s mounting demands.

We’ll be hosting a webinar and publishing helpful information regarding this topic. To take advantage of this month’s resources, please visit www.truckinginfo.com/drivers

Read the next article in this series - Weight Lifting 101: Solutions That Ease the Burden on Drivers