Can companies meet the ongoing challenge of driver shortage and turnover in North America? The world of logistics and transportation continues to face the ongoing daily problem of driver shortage and turnover and this will increase annually as the industry continues to grow and more drivers retire and it is estimated that companies will have to hire 100’s of thousands of new drivers over the next ten years.
Companies with as many as 15 recruiters in larger companies struggle with the difficult task of keeping their companies seats full so that trucks are not parked. Many companies compete for drivers by trying to outbid one another by offering sign up bonuses ranging from $500.00 to $6,000.00, for some recruiters it is like trying to fill a colander with water.
A survey in Canada shows that companies depending on size experience a turnover rate of anywhere between 5% to 82% whereas in the USA large carriers can experience turnover in excess of 100% . There are the obvious consequences of the shortage of drivers and high turnover, training, parked trucks, overtime and advertising costs in trade publications, job boards and the list goes on.
Companies continue to identify the causes of turnover and this will vary from company to company and their relative size as they work endlessly on driver retention programs.
There are reports that upwards of 88% of carriers find most applicants are unqualified to be drivers and this further compounds the driver shortage problem and even though there are literally hundreds of truck driver training schools in both Canada and the USA several of them are not certified and consequently those drivers graduating are not acceptable.
It goes without saying that the market is extremely tight for qualified drivers, so what are some of the solutions to overcome this, is it increased pay, better benefits, pension plans, less time away from home, clean and well maintained equipment, recognizing drivers as a “Professional Trade” ? One recruiter stated “we are competing with the construction industry, my son works as a labourer during the summer on construction and gets paid $26.50 per hour and here I am trying to recruit drivers for $22.00 per hour ”…..you be the judge of that.
Winston Churchill once said “ push a piece of string and it will crumble pull it and it will follow you” something for all management to think about !