According to JB Hunt Transport spokesmen, increased driver compensation is paying off. When the Lowell, AR-based carrier first announced the pay hike in September 1996, 81% of the new drivers hired were inexperienced. By March 1997, that number was down to 5%. The Company anticipates recruiting only experienced drivers in 1997.
The program has attracted 700 newly hired experienced drivers, 50% of them with 5 or more years’ experience. Drivers with at least one year of experience now earn an average of a 33% wage increase, an increase of 12¢ over the company’s old rate of 25¢ a mile for one-year drivers, and a gain of 8¢ over the company’s old rate of 33¢ a mile for more experienced drivers. The new compensation package took effect February 25.
With annual revenues of $1.5 billion, the company estimates the pay raises will cost $54 million annually. However, it expects to recoup the new expense by shifting the cost of high turnover, safety and increased utilization of equipment. Hiring only experienced drivers eliminates training expenses, results in fewer accidents and lowers insurance costs.