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Driver Turnover is Approaching 100 Percent
3 mins read

October 18, 2018 – Driver turnover at our nation’s largest motor carriers has climbed to an annual rate of 98 percent – it’s highest level since 2015. With over half of these drivers leaving within the first six months of employment, it’s becoming a bigger problem for carriers who are struggling to keep their cabs full at a time when the freight market is booming.

This data, which comes from the American Trucking Association’s latest Trucking Activity Report, highlights something that is becoming a bigger issue in the trucking industry: the ability to hire and retain quality drivers.  “The extreme tightening of the driver market – driven by solid freight demand – will continue to challenge fleets looking for qualified drivers,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said.

And while smaller carriers are also struggling to hire and retain quality talent, they’re not having nearly as difficult a time as the larger carriers: turnover now sits at 72 percent for this segment of the industry. According to the Trucking Activity Report, this number is 14 percentage points lower than it was a year ago.

The reason for this improvement can be at least partially explained by a commitment by carriers to improving driver pay and working conditions. “Like large carriers, small truckload carriers have been aggressively raising pay this year, which has helped their turnover rate level off.”

The lesson here for motor carriers is this: whether you are a small or large carrier, you need to be taking steps to attract high-quality talent to your organization. With the strong freight market especially, drivers have options – and many of them are looking for an employer that will not only pay them what they’re worth, but provide them with a positive work environment, good benefits and work-life balance.

Another important step, is to invest some time into the hiring and onboarding process. As we discussed in an earlier blog post, there is a strong correlation between retention and the driver’s onboarding experience. By enhancing your hiring and onboarding processes, drivers will be more likely to stay for longer than six month or a year – the time when most drivers make the decision to move on if they’re dissatisfied with the position. We discussed some of the steps carriers should be taking in a previous blog article.

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