Salary paramount, but truck drivers attracted to local trucking jobs
Faced with the lure of the open road or the home hearth, more truck drivers are attracted to the latter.
In a 2014 survey, National Retail Systems, Inc., polled thousands of truck drivers nationwide in an effort to determine what makes a driver choose one job over another.
With millions of truck-driver job ads flooding the market, the survey found that 79 percent of the drivers polled agreed that salary was most important when choosing a job. Home time was ranked as the second highest, and sign-on bonus and training were ranked the lowest.
David Bullins, NRS’ east coast recruitment officer for truck driver jobs, said, “It used to be that regional and long-haul drivers were making better money, but now with the new hours of service, they are required to have more downtime.
“That downtime ultimately means less money, so drivers are now making the push to become local drivers instead. Since drivers cannot run like they used to, home time has now become a higher priority."
With pay being most important to drivers, it poses the question: how much are trucking companies able to increase driver pay?
“Market conditions will not allow transportation companies to increase pay beyond a certain level. With driver pay increases, it is challenging for asset-based transportation companies to make money,” said Joe Brady, vice president at NRS. “Customers are reluctant to raise pricing even though ever-increasing variables such as new equipment, maintenance, and employee benefits continue to rise with inflation. These expenses add up, and transportation companies, many times, are forced to incur the cost-differential.”
When drivers were asked how many truck driver jobs they have had in the past 10 years, 42 percent surveyed said they had worked between three and five jobs. Bullins said, “This just shows how in-demand drivers are. They can work for a company, and if they aren’t happy with the color of their tractor or the tone of a dispatcher, it is as easy as going down the street to pick up a new job.”
NRS said 79 percent of those polled use the Internet to search driver jobs, and that newspaper ads are a distant second.
Drivers cast a wide net when looking for work — 42 percent apply for two or three jobs at a time when looking for new work, and almost 8 percent say they apply for more than 15 jobs at a time.
Lupe Casas, an NRS truck driver recruitment officer who specializes in owner-operator drivers, wasn’t shocked by these statistics; he emphasized how hiring drivers is truly a race.
“As a recruiter, you need to process a driver quickly because within a couple of days, they could already be driving for another company,” said Casas.
With many recruitment departments now allocating much of their budget to retention, NRS found salary (43 percent) and lack of home time (28 percent), the most important reasons truck drivers to leave their current job.
“Companies are spending thousands, if not millions, of dollars per year towards advertising truck driver jobs instead of addressing some of the root causes of the truck-driver shortage,” said Chris Saville, NRS marketing director, adding that his company is “focusing its efforts more on initiatives that target some of the larger issues at hand such as a need for truck driver apprenticeship programs.”