ata driver turnover

What ATA Says About Driver Turnover

Driver turnover poses an ongoing problem for trucking companies across the United States. It’s expected to continue even as signs of post-pandemic economic recovery are emerging. In March 2021, the American Truck Associations (ATA) released a quarterly employment report indicating that driver turnover among large truckload fleets remained unchanged in the fourth quarter of 2020, despite tight freight capacity and the lingering effects of COVID-19. This followed a 10% increase to 92% during the third quarter of 2020 for large truckload carriers and a 14% increase to 74% for smaller truckload carriers. The ATA driver turnover report encourages carriers to address current and future driver turnover problems by resolving any driver recruitment and retention issues they are facing.

Economic Recovery Tightens Driver Market

Following a second-quarter drop in driver turnover that resulted from the pandemic, the rise seen in Q3 signaled an increased demand for truck drivers and freight. “After a calamitous second quarter, trucking - along with the rest of the economy - began recovering in the third quarter, leading to a tightening of the driver market,” says ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “With a more robust freight market, we saw an increase in carriers seeking drivers, which led to increased turnover.” 

And while Costello notes that “it may seem surprising that the turnover rate didn’t jump in the fourth quarter as economic activity and freight traffic increased,” he says that this may have been the result of strong freight demand simply keeping drivers too busy to consider changing jobs.

Expect an Even Greater Demand for Drivers

While the trucking industry’s decade-long driver shortage was temporarily eased last year during the worst of the pandemic, the continued tightening of the driver market is expected to pose an ongoing challenge for carriers through 2021 and beyond. “The driver pool has decreased this year for a host of reasons,” says Costello, “including fewer new drivers coming into the industry as truck driver training schools train less drivers due to social distancing requirements.” 

Costello agrees with many others that the recently passed stimulus package and the high rate of COVID-19 vaccinations in the U.S. will trigger continued economic improvement. This will create an even greater demand for truck drivers and tighten the market further. 

Importance of Driver Recruitment and Retention

So what exactly does this mean for large fleet owners? As the U.S. economy continues to recover from the recession brought on by the pandemic, finding qualified, experienced drivers will remain a challenge. According to the ATA driver turnover report, if trucking companies want to see improvements in driver turnover going forward, they will need to focus their efforts on driver recruitment and retention. These are the two main issues facing trucking companies today. 

WorkHound is a company committed to helping fleet owners retain their workforce by eliminating the guesswork and gathering real-time feedback from drivers. Contact WorkHound today to find out how we can help you resolve your driver turnover and retention issues.

driver turnover

What You Need to Know About Driver Turnover

Trucking companies can learn a lot from driver turnover. It plays a significant role in the driver recruiting process. The data collected about your annual driver turnover can help you determine exactly what type of driver you are interested in hiring. It can also help you step back and analyze what parts of your company you should improve to retain drivers longer.

The Trouble with Driver Recruitment

Recruiting drivers to work for a trucking company may not seem like a difficult task. Truck driving is one of the most popular occupations in the U.S., ranking in the top five careers for many states several years in a row.

But recruiting drivers is a numbers game, and you must find the best drivers to fill the seats of your vacant trucks and get them back on the highway once again. The longer your fleet is sitting idle, the more money your company will lose.

While it’s important to hire more drivers, it’s also crucial that you see drivers on the job as coachable and trusted resources in the way your business operates.

The shipping industry is constantly increasing the amount of freight that is shipped. That places a burden on trucking companies while the demand for more drivers also goes up. Even though truck driving is a prevalent occupation throughout the country, many trucking companies are still having difficulty filling in vacant driving positions and keeping up with the ongoing demand.

Why Use WorkHound?

WorkHound is a helpful platform designed with the essential workforce in mind. It allows employees to leave anonymous feedback in real time. It gets the word out about any issues present within the company and lets the workers give suggestions on how their employer can improve.

The WorkHound platform features analytics that focuses on your business’s specific issues. It has already helped many companies, like USA Truck, Bay & Bay Transportation, and ACT, retain their frontline workers while also giving their profits a boost and saving both time and money.

The company created the platform to help people love the work they do each day. WorkHound started in the trucking industry, where the average rate for turnover is highest. Over time, they extended their platform to support the exchange of real-time feedback from frontline workers in numerous industries.

Give WorkHound a try today and see for yourself how the platform can drive success for companies just like your own.

truck driver recruiting agency

The Best Truck Driver Recruiting Agency

Trucking is a vital part of the American economy, and experienced drivers play a crucial role in making sure the nation’s freight gets from point A to point B. The trucking industry is seeing increased demand in 2021 but a nationwide driver shortage continues to plague the industry. Experts say the shortage could last for the next two to four years, which means hiring and retaining qualified drivers now is more important than ever. If you are wondering how you can attract more quality truck driver prospects, remember this: the best truck driver recruiting agency you can ask for is your own team of happy and well-cared-for drivers. 

Word-of-Mouth Referrals

There are few things more powerful than word-of-mouth referrals. When making a decision, people tend to put more stock in recommendations from friends and family members than in advertisements, and the same goes for truck drivers deciding whom they want to drive for. Fortunately, you have the most trusted source of advertising right at your fingertips: driver referrals. 

Driver referrals can be a great avenue for finding new talent and there is no doubt that happy drivers provide more valuable referrals, helping you save money on a truck driver recruiting agency. When your drivers believe in your company and feel that they are being treated fairly, they will be more eager to make recommendations to others. In turn, you will be rewarded with more quality driver prospects, more hires, and a better driver retention rate. You work hard to recruit and hire the best truck drivers for your fleet, so you don’t want high turnover rates creating a drag on your finances or your reputation. 

Attracting, Hiring, and Retaining Quality Drivers

If you hope to attract, hire and retain quality drivers in an increasingly competitive trucking market, you can give yourself a leg up on the competition by applying the following tips to your truck driver recruiting strategy:

Be Honest About Your Expectations

Truck drivers are looking for a job that not only aligns with their qualifications but also suits their lifestyle. In attempting to set your company apart from the pack and attract the best candidates, make sure any perks or benefits you promise are realistic. 

Ask for Referrals from Current Drivers

Quality drivers who are happy working for your company are more likely to refer other quality drivers to your company. That means you can find great new drivers to expand your workforce with the help of the drivers you already have.

Reward Drivers for Their Accomplishments

Drivers who feel as though they are valued are more willing to refer a friend to a job opening at their company. By acknowledging drivers for their accomplishments and offering performance incentives linked to retention, you can improve your driver retention rate and reduce the financial burden that comes from constantly replacing drivers.

Ask Drivers for Their Feedback

One of the best ways to keep your current drivers happy and productive is to let them know that your company values their input. By asking drivers for their feedback, you can accomplish three key things: 

  • Get a clear read on your drivers’ happiness and satisfaction
  • Use this information to make meaningful changes within the company
  • Show your drivers that their company cares about them

Having quality truck drivers for your business is crucial to success. By following the tips mentioned above, you’ll keep your quality drivers, save money on your truck driver recruiting agency, and ultimately, optimize your company's bottom line. 

And we know this because we’ve witnessed its success at Bay & Bay Transportation, which has not only increased retention rates but also grew its fleet by 30% last year. Read their case study here.

truck driver turnover rate

Why You Should Know Your Truck Driver Turnover Rate

Managing a situation starts with defining it. High truck driver turnover rate and a low retention rate have been consistent problems for trucking companies in North America for years. Large truckload carriers had a driver turnover rate of 92% in Q3 of 2020 according to American Trucking Associations data. It was 74% for drivers with smaller carriers. In 2018, when the big carrier turnover rate was as high as 94%, the average cost of losing and hiring a driver was $11,500 per position. 

Some trucking companies consider turnover an inevitable part of the business. This isn’t the case. To make progress in solving the problem, you have to understand it first. Knowing the truck driver turnover rate for your company can help carriers identify areas of improvement.

How to Calculate Your Driver Turnover Rate

With a little bit of math, you can figure out truck driver turnover rate for yourself. To calculate this, find out how many drivers have left the company this year. Divide that number by days elapsed in the year. Multiply that answer by 365. Divide that product by the total number of drivers, and that’s your turnover rate. 

Truck Driver Turnover Rate from the Driver’s Side

On the individual driver’s side, leaving a trucking job can lead to financial problems. Often, money stress leads to personal, family, health, and emotional stresses.

Our annual trends report of feedback from more than 45,000 drivers found the top five reasons truck drivers quit are: 

  • total compensation
  • time away from home
  • lack of communication
  • paycheck unpredictability
  • issues resolving problems with the carrier

A 2019 article by Freight Waves puts it a little differently. They sum up the main causes as human nature, the economy, health, and expectations versus realities. 

Efforts to Improve Driver Turnover

Working alone for long stretches in trying conditions goes against human nature. Some for-hire carriers are trying to shorten the average length of a haul so drivers can be home more often. 

Most long-haul drivers are paid per mile, which creates a problem when the length of hauls is limited. Truckers need the miles even as they appreciate the breaks. Varying miles in a pay period can create budget issues for drivers. Some carriers are solving this by looking into guaranteed or salary-based pay, or additional forms of compensation like irritant pay

Being on the road often means little time for a healthy lifestyle, medical appointments, and good food. Availability, making money, and hitting deadlines are the pressing priorities. One answer to the compensation problem is a slight wage bump, but not all trucking companies can afford this. Better health care benefits, paid deadhead miles, and vacation time off might be more attainable solutions. 

Regardless, knowing exactly what will make the most impact starts with communication by simply asking what your drivers want and need.

Drivers, especially those recently entering the field, often have to learn hard realities on the job. Many come to trucking for a chance to earn competitive wages with little educational background. However, there are costs to this. Long hours, hard working conditions, and mandates from their carriers and the companies they work with on the road could make reality different from what they thought they were getting into.

Understanding your turnover rate could be the key to a stronger alignment for the success of your drivers and your business. 

If you already understand your company’s turnover rate and you’re ready to do something about it, give us a call! We’d be glad to help you shine just like ACT, Melton Truck Lines, and USA Truck.  

is there a truck driver shortage

Is There a Truck Driver Shortage?

If you are in the trucking industry, you’ve probably heard about the driver shortage. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 65,000 fewer truckers were available for hire in 2020 than in 2019. The number of truck drivers only increased three percent the year before.

Of course, some folks will argue that all stats from 2020 are skewed due to the pandemic. It is too soon to understand the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the economy and the job market. With people out of work due to illness and quarantine, it is difficult to determine exactly what the facts mean. Is there a truck driver shortage, though?

Driver Shortage vs. Driver Turnover

Saying that there is a truck driver shortage implies that there are fewer people trained to be truckers than there were previously. It brings to mind a high demand for the job but no one to take those positions. This is partially true.

Younger people are less likely to get a CDL license, and the average age of a trucker is around 50. It just isn’t high on the list of job prospects for many millennial and Gen Z workers.

However, others have CDL licenses but no longer work in the industry. This begs the question: is there a truck driver shortage, or is there a truck driver turnover problem?

Trucking is not an easy job. It requires a lot of alone time away from home and on the road. Many find that truck driving is not a good fit for them and move on to other careers. This suggests that there is a shortage of people who want to drive trucks, not a shortage of qualified drivers.

The Actual Issue: Retention Rates

Both a shortage of talent and an increase in turnover can be fixed with the same solution: better retention rates.

If companies can keep their current truckers longer, they won’t have to look for new ones to hire. Concerns of a shortage aren’t as pressing for a business that has great retention with the employees they already have. It’s a surefire defense against revenue challenges, no matter where they are coming from.

One way to keep your truckers around longer is to keep communication open. Know when your employees are unhappy. Provide ways for them to bring problems to the forefront so they can be solved faster. Collecting feedback often and acting on it shows your truckers that you care about their experience at work. By keeping a two-way conversation open between employees and management, you will avoid many issues altogether and keep your truckers for longer than the competition.

If the driver shortage OR industry-wide driver turnover is impacting your bottom line, maybe it's time to do something about it. Learn how American Central Transport is tackling driver turnover in this case study.