Wanted: Qualified, Professional Drivers

Must have a valid commercial driver’s license and formal training from an accredited institution.  Be prepared to commit to days at a time away from home.  You’ll be on the road up to 72 hours a week, not including down-time at delivery and loading sites.  Oh, almost forgot… no accidents in your history. 

It’s no wonder that recruiting qualified drivers is difficult and the trucking industry is facing a critical shortage.  While the career path can provide steady paycheck and an opportunity to see the country, the long hours, time away from home and relatively low pay takes its toll on drivers. 

Current estimates indicate that operators across the country are short 30,000 long-distance drivers.  The American Trucking Association projects the shortage could top 200,000 in the next decade.  Average annual pay for long-distance drivers was $49,540 in 2013, according to ATA estimates.  Hiring and wages in truck transportation have inched up during 2014, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

So, how do companies bridge the gap?  How do you get those good drivers in the seat and then keep them beyond the industry average tenure of two years?  Companies are looking at several recruiting and retention tools to keep drivers happy:

  • Paying higher wages 
  • Creating lanes where drivers run enough hours to make a living, but not so many hours that they’re exhausted.
  • Limiting detention times at loading and delivery sites.
  • Offering more time at home.
  • Taking seemingly simple steps such as maintaining clean yards to minimize truck tire blow outs, which cause unnecessary delays.
  • Training on new technologies so that more experienced drivers do not shy away from changes in processes.
  • Offering better opportunities for advancement.
  • Fostering a company-wide culture of respect – does your operations department respect your drivers? 

Truck driver recruiting and retention programs are growing more important by the day. If you can succeed in creating a great working environment for your own drivers, word will spread and you’ll have your pick of the best talent on the road.

© 2014 Schneider Downs. All rights-reserved. All content on this site is property of Schneider Downs unless otherwise noted and should not be used without written permission.

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