Last week, a report was released last week pointing to driver turnover still being on the rise. Driver turnover for large carriers rose over 95 percent as of last quarter, which is an increase of 14 percent from last year. For smaller trucking fleets, driver turnover increased only by two percentage points, from 82 percent to 84 percent. If we zoom out and try to make sense of the numbers and how they relate to driver turnover, it could signal big changes for the trucking industry.
Driver Turnover Vs. Driver Demand
When driver turnover rates are down, that is typically a bad sign. Lower driver turnover means truckers are not in demand. However, the trucking industry is currently facing a driver shortage – one which could reach as high as 50,000 by the end of this year alone. That number could grow to over 170,000 by 2024. The same could be said for mechanics, as well. So if the numbers for driver turnover are high, yet there is a driver shortage, what does that mean?
Driver Turnover And Wage Reform
Driver retention has been discussed throughout companies and online for most of 2017. Big carriers have had a hard time keeping new drivers, but the focus on the reasons why might not be what you think. Very little of driver turnover has to do with the fear that automated trucks will cause mass unemployment. Underneath the distractions of technological advances, the biggest issue with driver turnover comes from wages. Wages throughout the trucking industry have stagnated for years, without much of an increase from where they were in the 1980s. Trucking is in demand by consumers, and with an increase in online purchases, getting goods from one place to another is imperative. With higher driver turnover and the shortage of drivers overall, truckers have to deal with an increased workload. Add to that the limits placed on active drivers through the ELD mandate, and it makes for a very stressful working environment, even on the open road.
A Possible Wage Increase?
Increasing the wages paid to drivers would be a major step in retaining skilled drivers. Certainly motions could be made in planning to ensure jobs are available even after big tech innovations are implemented, but right now, everyone is looking after their own wallets. A number of large carriers are thinking about increasing wages for drivers, which would help keep existing truckers around longer, as well as draw in new and younger people to choose the trucking industry for their careers.
At Express Freight Finance, we specialize in freight bill factoring services, as well as comprehensive fuel card plans for independent truckers. Contact us today at 801-890-6570 to ensure your operation grows successfully.