truck driver shortage

There’s nothing that keeps trucking recruiters up at night like the ongoing truck driver shortage. Without a doubt, it’s the biggest factor influencing the transportation industry. Truck drivers and carriers alike know that it is difficult to hire and recruit top drivers for retention when there is tremendous competition for a small pool of drivers. Overcoming the truck driver shortage requires understanding the forces causing them. Here are 4 trends impacting the driver shortage and solutions on how carriers can overcome them.

Trend 1: Not attracting younger workers

As a whole, the trucking industry is currently failing to attract younger workers. Most current truck drivers are middle-aged and have worked in trucking or other industries for many years. In past generations there were more young truck drivers, but those trends have changed. In addition, the industry must comply with the federal rule which requires commercial vehicle drivers to be at least 21 years old. The regulations aren’t entirely to blame for the truck driver shortage. The labor force participation rate for ages 16 to 24 is trending downward. This means there is increased competition for a smaller pool of young drivers today than ever before.

Solution:

If the trucking industry wants to tap into a larger pool of drivers, it needs to start appealing to millennial drivers. Millennials have different priorities and attitudes than their generation X and generation Y predecessors. In order to appeal to younger drivers, recruiters need to evaluate what millennials really want and then make sure a trucking job can provide it.

Trend 2: More workers go straight to college or the trades

The percentage of high school graduates going to college has increased over the last few decades. In 1984, only 56% of students went to college after graduating from high school. The rest of them went into the labor force including trucking and trades like welding, mechanics, and work as plumbers or electricians.

Today, nearly 70% of students are going to college, which leaves fewer workers for both trucking and the trades.

Sure enough, many of the trades are also experiencing a shortage, and they directly compete with trucking industry for a smaller pool of workers. If these workers find the trades to be a more attractive as jobs, it impacts the shortage in the trucking industry.

Solution:

Recruiters need to focus on making trucking more attractive than the trades. While both of these industry paths have many things in common, there are important differences as well. The biggest factor is travel and the impact on home time. While this may seem like a disadvantage at first glance, recruiters need to turn this into a benefit. By highlighting the opportunity to travel and the independence and flexibility of the job, recruiters can make trucking more appealing. Trade industries don’t offer many of the same perks and benefits that trucking does.

Trend 3: Automation is hurting, not helping

Automation has yet to make a significant impact in reducing the driver shortage. Although many industry analysts had imagined self-driving trucks to be more prevalent on the road today, it is not yet the case. Autonomous trucks are still years or decades away from being a player due to technology, legal, and safety considerations. Instead of helping the driver shortage, autonomous trucks have hurt the industry in another fashion. The looming threat of self-driving trucks is discouraging career-minded people from the trucking profession. If drivers incorrectly believe that autonomous trucks will take their jobs in a few years, they won’t invest the time and money needed to pursue a career path in trucking.

Solution:

Recruiters shouldn’t be waiting for automation to solve the driver shortage. Regardless of the future of self-driving trucks, recruiters need to focus on finding innovative ways to compete for the best drivers and retaining them. Have data and statistics available on how the hype behind self-driving trucks doesn’t stand up to reality. Drivers want to know that they are still needed and that you rely on them for labor.

Trend 4: Most current drivers are men

There’s no doubt about it, there’s a driver shortage because most truck drivers are men and they comprise only 50% of the workforce. There has been a significant increase in women drivers in recent years, but this hasn’t happened fast enough to offset the driver shortage. Most older drivers are still men, while younger generations tend to be less disproportionate.

When only half the population considers trucking as a profession, there’s no wonder there’s a driver shortage.

It’s a myth that trucking isn’t a career for women or that they wouldn’t enjoy the work. Although being a woman trucker comes with its own challenges, women who are passionate about the job and the independence it brings are happy to take on the role.

Solution:

This one is simple: the industry needs to become more woman friendly. Recruiters can focus on hiring and retaining more female truck drivers. Industry stakeholders can partner with organizations like Women in Trucking to advance and advocate for women in the industry. Carriers can go the extra mile to make sure women are comfortable with their companies. As your reputation as a woman friendly company grows, more female drivers will consider trucking with your fleet. While there is a long road ahead, growing the number of women drivers will make a serious dent in the driver shortage problem.

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Hire and Retain More Qualified Drivers

Drive My Way matches drivers with companies based on professional qualifications and lifestyle choices.

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Trucking recruiters are tasked with finding top candidates for a position, matching them to the right jobs, and converting them into drivers for the fleet. This is dependent on finding a high number of qualified candidates through driver applications. One reason why you may not have as many candidates in your talent pool is because some percentage of leads start driver applications but soon abandon them.

You’ll get more candidates if you are able to reduce application abandonment. Just imagine the kinds of stronger candidates you’ll have in consideration if 10% of candidates don’t quit in the middle of your application! Here are four suggestions of how to reduce driver application abandonment and get better candidates in your recruiting pipeline.

1. Application length

Put yourself in the place of your candidates and imagine why they may abandon the driver applications. Most drivers don’t want to spend their limited free time filling out lengthy and complex applications. In fact, this is the top reason job seekers quit in the middle of applications. If your applications are requiring too many details, or take too long, most drivers are going to move on to other tasks. Worst case, you may be losing these candidates to rival carriers who have optimized and shortened their applications.

Ideally, your driver application should take no longer than 15 minutes to complete.

Instead of requiring drivers to provide all information up-front, focus on the basics and stick to questions that require simple answers. You can ask more detailed questions later, in your follow-up or in-person phone call.

2. Make applications mobile-friendly

Most drivers search and apply for jobs online through their smartphones. In this mobile-driven world, recruiters and fleet managers need to make sure they’re able to communicate and interface with drivers how they would prefer. Designing mobile-friendly applications means you’re able to meet drivers where they are and make driver applications easier for them.

Simply duplicating the web-based driver application for mobile devices introduces so many hassles, no wonder drivers abandon these!

Optimize your applications for a mobile-first experience by using mobile rendering, saved login information, and other useful features. Drivers will be more likely to complete applications which are quick and easy to complete on the go. They can easily access and submit these applications on their devices while waiting at truck stops or rest areas.

3. Avoid tedious steps

If your driver application is requiring candidates complete tedious steps, they’re going to abandon the application and run for the hills, or worse, to the next carrier’s application.

Nothing can be as difficult or tedious as requiring drivers to print or download something on the application.

These steps can be tough to complete if drivers are on their smartphones and looking at your applications while on a rest break. Using the proper software and encryption can go a long way toward drivers submitting the applications online without having to worry about their data being at risk. Build a safe and secure application on the back-end so as not to compromise the private information of candidates. E-signatures and other features make application submission simple, secure, and effective.

4. Be transparent

Your driver applications aren’t just simple tasks for candidates to complete as part of the hiring process. They’re also an integral part of the marketing and advertising for your fleet and carrier. Keeping this in mind, drivers will expect you to address their concerns about compensation, benefits, company culture, and other important topics. In this day and age, any reputation about your carrier has spread far and wide.

You can expect that your candidates have already heard everything about your company—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

What you can do to handle this situation is practice 100% transparency. Perhaps your carrier can’t provide the latest truck models or the strongest benefits, but that is balanced by the company culture, safety record, and spouse policy. Be upfront about whatever concerns you think drivers may have and make it easy for interested candidates to contact you with questions. If you’re serious about avoiding long-term turnover, your carrier should do what it can to promote transparency.

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Reduce Application Abandonment

We partner with employers to help them reduce application abandonment by nurturing candidates.

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As a recruiter in the fast-paced trucking industry, there are many challenges and obstacles in your job. You have a limited budget and need to fill a high number of driving positions within a short period of time. It’s tempting then, to treat truck driver candidates as leads instead of people. Treating drivers simply as a number will lead you to miss important information to help with your recruitment. Worse, it can be very off-putting to drivers who are looking to find meaning and value in their work. The truth is that treating drivers like people, and not just leads, is helpful to both recruiters and drivers. Here’s a look at why.

1. Reach targeted driver matches

Probably the biggest reason to treat drivers as people and not leads is because, well, they are people! Individual people have different skills, career goals, and job preferences. If you’re looking at candidates simply as leads without any specific qualities, you run the risk of believing that you can fill any job with any driver. Most recruiters know that drivers need to be qualified for particular jobs, but it goes beyond just qualifications.

To find the best matches for your jobs, you need to take into account driver preferences, and not just qualifications.

Some drivers may prefer less home time while others need to be with their families at least once every few days. Newer drivers may prefer the newest model trucks, while seasoned veterans would be more comfortable with classic and reliable models. Finding the right driver for each position requires you to get to know the priorities, goals, and preferences of each individual. Your recruiting becomes more precise and accurate when you treat drivers like people. From a driver perspective, it is also helpful because you’re meeting their needs and they’d be more likely to be productive and perform at their best level.

2. Make recruiting efficient

Recruiters have limited time and resources to fill a large number of jobs fairly quickly. As a recruiter, you may be tempted to contact an endless list of job candidates to quickly land hires. This may work in the short-term, but you’ll likely lose many of those drivers in just a few months. Focusing on quantity instead of quality will only work for so long, and you definitely won’t find the best drivers for job. As mentioned above, focusing on matches will help you hire the best candidate for each job. Treating drivers like individual people will also save you time by contacting and cultivating only your top matches.

Instead of losing time and money by blindly calling an endless list of candidates, you can invest your limited time on the top matches for each job.

Focus your energies on specific, interested drivers and move them through your recruiting pipeline all the way to onboarding. From the driver’s perspective, they would appreciate this as you can get their questions answered quickly without them waiting around too long. This also keeps the interaction about the specific jobs they want, instead of soliciting them about random jobs they weren’t ever interested in or suited for.

3. Recruit for retention

Treating drivers like people will help you recruit with more lasting value. Drivers who feel treated like people will be more likely to stick around longer. The trucking industry is notorious for high turnover, and some recruiters forget some of the solutions are this simple. The simple fact is that drivers don’t want to leave their carriers after just a few months. Most drivers would be very happy to find long-term jobs that fulfill all their needs and keeps them gainfully employed for many years. Drivers are simply looking for meaningful jobs that give them a sense that they belong.

Treating drivers like people is the only way they will feel dignified and respected as professionals.

This starts with carefully matching them with jobs that suit their needs but doesn’t stop there. Valuing truck drivers throughout their career means routinely checking in to make sure they are satisfied with the job. Driver engagement surveys and driver appreciation ideas all serve this same purpose. Drivers are sick of hearing empty promises which aren’t delivered on. Instead, be straightforward with them about what they can expect from the job, and what you can hope to realistically deliver to them. This refreshingly honest attitude can win drivers over. When drivers don’t feel lied to and cheated, they are less likely to leave your fleet.

When drivers are fully valued as individual people, you’re more likely to retain them for years on end.

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

Current ways of recruiting truck drivers just don’t work anymore. That’s because recruiting isn’t a transaction. This ultimate guide helps carriers recruit for retention.

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recruit truck drivers

It seems that we can’t escape technology in our lives, especially in the workplace. As a recruiting professional in a challenging and fast-paced industry, you’ve probably read about how using the latest technology can help you recruit truck drivers. However, having a keen skeptical eye, you also know that using technology cannot solve all problems, and can’t replaced good old-fashioned recruiting methods. In reality, both these things are true. You must use technology for recruiting, but you can’t rely on it blindly either. The trick is learning how and when to use technology to best aid your recruiting efforts.

Enhance and complement with technology

It’s true that technology can play a part in all functions of your recruitment efforts. It can help allocate your budget, optimize marketing, capture and manage leads, and onboard new hires. However, if you use technology blindly, that may be worse than not using it at all! You could end up hurting tried-and-tested methods that have worked for ages.

The secret to how and when to use technology is to always have it complement your human efforts, instead of hamper them.

There will always be some disadvantages to using technology, but thankfully your human efforts will be strong in those areas. Similarly, there are areas where humans tend to make more mistakes. Here is where technology can aid or accelerate your process. This way you’re always using technology to enhance your already strong human recruitment efforts.

The strengths and weaknesses of technology

Knowing how and when to use technology depends on a good understanding of its strengths and weaknesses. You’ll soon recognize that these usually complement human strengths and weakness. For example, one of the weaknesses of human effort is a limited capacity. You only have a limited number of recruiters, limited budget, or limited time.

Thankfully, technology excels at using limited resources to scale up operations that lead to better results.

Similarly, using human effort leads to low accountability. Bill thought Joan was going to complete that task, while Joan thought Adam was accountable for it. Assigning tasks to technology means that the tasks are track-able and measurable. Human effort can sometimes lack consistency and accuracy. We understandably feel tired, bored, antsy, or unmotivated when tackling repetitive tasks. These are perfect tasks to outsource to technology. Unless it breaks down, it reliably completes the same task repeatedly until you instruct it to stop.

However, don’t be fooled into thinking that there are no disadvantages to relying on technology. One of its weaknesses is that technology will be subject to bugs and glitches. This is when the human touch helps. When your automated systems suffer a technical error and don’t function as expected, you can ask recruiters to step in and cover the missing pieces.

Technology also needs constant monitoring and frequent technical support. Instead, people can be autonomous!

You don’t need to constantly monitor their actions or call in a repair crew when they make an error. If you empower your staff, they are capable of constantly self-adjusting. This is in contrast to technology, which is limited in its programming. If you instruct an algorithm to send a message to contact new leads, it will continue to attempt doing so until you tell it to stop. On the other hand, humans are adaptable. We can see when something isn’t working, and instead of making the same mistake repeatedly, we can flexibly adapt our behavior to fit the situation.

As you can see, humans and technology both have strengths and weaknesses. Usually the strengths and weaknesses complement each other. This is the secret to how and when to use technology.

Pair both human effort and technology toward their strengths to efficiently recruit truck drivers.

Only use technology to enhance human effort, and never to hinder it. Below are four examples.

1. Budgets

As we’ve written about before, you can use data to inform decisions about where to allocate your recruiting budgets. Technology can tell you which recruiting methods are successful for which jobs in which locations. At the end of the day though, recruiters have to use human judgment to make decisions about budget strategy and planning and sell this plan to supervisors to get their approval.

2. Finding drivers

Recruiters sift through the carrier’s jobs and decide which characteristics are important for each job. You need human effort to decide which candidate looks like an ideal match for a particular job. Technology can then help you target the right candidates and meet them where they already exist online. You can also use lead scoring, or matching services like Drive My Way to funnel the top matches into your recruiting pipeline.

3. Contacting and securing leads

Contacting leads quickly is crucial to converting them into hires. Technology can help you automate methods of contact and frequency of contact. Mobile-friendly applications and applicant tracking systems are tools you can use to gain contact information or other important data. But there is a danger in overusing technology here. Nothing can replace the human effect. Once you’ve identified top leads, contacting them with a personalized message adds the much-needed human touch.

4. Onboarding drivers

You can use technology to measure lead velocity and other metrics to help optimize your truck driver onboarding process. However, once you’ve already converted leads to hires, you don’t want to risk alienating them. Human skills here are essential. Listening to newly converted drivers and meeting their needs with your solutions will go a long way toward maximizing retention.

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

Current ways of recruiting truck drivers just don’t work anymore. That’s because recruiting isn’t a transaction. This ultimate guide helps carriers recruit for retention.

Get the Ebook

Trucking recruiters are invaluable to their carriers. Recruiters find and interview leads, identify top talent, send them job offers, and shepherd drivers through training and orientation. Without strong recruiters, truck driving jobs would remain unfilled and trucks would be sitting idle. Recruiters are especially important for a tough industry like trucking which faces unique obstacles. Here are 4 challenges facing trucking recruiters.

1. Driver shortage

Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way: the biggest challenge for anyone in this industry is the driver shortage. The truck driver shortage has increased, and the industry is lacking about 60,000 drivers. The driver shortage will continue and grow over the next few years, even taking into account a rise in autonomous trucks. While the driver shortage affects the entire industry and economy, it’s a major challenge for recruiters. Finding the best talent for your carriers is extremely difficult when the pool of candidates is narrow. Worse still, these candidates are courted by many carriers simultaneously, so it’s difficult to entice them with something the top carriers can’t match.

2. Unqualified leads

Even when you find drivers in the midst of the shortage, about 50% of your leads will not be viable. Recruiting is a matching game—you can’t just pick any driver for any kind of trucking job. While sorting through dozens of candidates you’ll find that over half are unqualified, uninterested, inexperienced, or otherwise inappropriate for the job. Meanwhile, you’ll have wasted time and precious recruiting budget on pursuing dead leads.

Instead of recruiting blindly, what you really need is a stronger matching or screening system.

3. High turnover

As if the driver shortage wasn’t enough, trucking recruiters also deal with high turnover. Once a carrier finally lands a top driver, it’s not as if they will always stick around for long. In fact, many fleets are losing more drivers than they recruit each year. Carriers can use incentives like signing bonuses, but those aren’t geared toward retention. Strong retention starts with strong recruiting, so it helps if you only hire drivers who are a good match. Survey your drivers to better meet their needs and match their values will also help reduce the chances they are enticed by job offers from rivals. Still, building a solid company culture which nurtures driver loyalty can be a long-term investment that is easier said than done.

4. Budget allocation

You only have so much money you can spend on recruiting. What and where to spend that money on are challenging questions facing all trucking recruiters. Today there are many more recruiting channels than ever before and carriers want to spread a wide net, reaching as many drivers as possible. At the same time, you may be wasting money if you allocate it toward recruiting methods that just aren’t effective. Measuring your recruiting effectiveness is an essential task that can help you allocate your budget efficiently, reach more drivers, and save money. Nevertheless, spending that kind of research is time-consuming in itself.

What recruiters really need are strong tools which help them recruit very efficiently through different channels suited for location and job type

 

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

Current ways of recruiting truck drivers just don’t work anymore. That’s because recruiting isn’t a transaction. This ultimate guide helps carriers recruit for retention.

Get the Ebook

CDL truck drivers have many things to consider when taking on a new trucking job. Routes, benefits, work-life balance, and certainly driver pay are key factors. And pay is usually at the top of that list. From Indeed.com:

The average CDL driver salary is $1,074 per week in the United States.

This is based on over 1.6 million self-reported salaries, for a driver with just under 1 year of tenure. Using this as a gauge for the average CDL driver salary: how do you stack up?

This average is derived from a range of salaries, from $200 per week at the low end, to almost $3,000 per week on the high end. It also includes rates reported from both owner-operators as well as company drivers. Likewise, salaries for drivers who have additional endorsements on their license are included as well. So it’s easy to see that here’s quite a range from the low to high end of the scale.

It’s worth noting that a CDL driver salary alone does not account for total compensation.

Total compensation includes salary PLUS things like medical benefits, bonuses, paid time off and 401K / retirement programs. All of these things should be looked at when considering a new trucking job. Truckers could get lured by big signing bonuses upfront, but over time, those become less important vs. pay rates and longer-term benefits. Total compensation is the more meaningful number to understand when working through financial planning.

Our Approach

In an effort to be competitive, many of carriers who partner with Drive My Way access driver wage data through The National Transportation Institute (NTI) to evaluate and update their compensation packages based on today’s market. Drive My Way offers consulting for how your organization and jobs are performing based on driver interest and decline feedback. In addition, we often refer those that are struggling to compete in particular markets to NTI for a competitive market data analysis of their pay and benefits offerings.

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Start Recruiting for Retention

Drive My Way matches drivers with companies based on professional qualifications and lifestyle choices.

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best-trucking-companies

Truck drivers are constantly bombarded with information by companies about why they are great to work for. They also hear about companies through their reputation with other drivers. Both seasoned drivers and rookies are interested in hearing about the best truck driving companies to work for. The top companies have some of the best salaries and compensation, benefits, and other perks. But more importantly, they also prioritize home time, have a strong company culture, and are known for respecting their drivers.

Ultimately, the best companies are the ones that suit the individual needs of drivers, including that of region, type of runs and hauls. Nevertheless, there are some companies that consistently rank high, regardless of preferences. Here are 6 of the best truck driving companies to work for in 2019, in no particular order.

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Billboard

High turnover and the enduring truck driver shortage make your fleet’s recruitment efforts of supreme importance. Advertising jobs to drivers is one of the first steps in strong recruitment. If drivers don’t see your ads, there is no chance of them applying to your jobs. Driver recruitment advertising is completely different than it was about 10 years ago. As always, advertising means you should meet drivers where they are and speak their language. If you’re not taking advantage of changing trends and best practices, you’re risking losing the best drivers to rival carriers. Here are 6 things wrong with your truck driver advertising you can improve on.

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3 Ideas for Improving Your Truck Driver Benefits Package

As a recruiter for truck drivers, you know that the driver shortage means that finding the best talent can be difficult. With turnover also being high, retaining drivers can be even more challenging. The best companies are offering great truck driver benefits in addition to good salaries and bonuses. While salary and cents per mile are important figures, drivers know they aren’t the whole package. The experienced driver recognizes that a strong benefits package can be more valuable than sign-on or referral bonuses.

Benefits also build a driver-centric company culture where drivers feel valued and respected. Word-of-mouth about benefits will soon spread to attract other drivers. While there are some industry standard benefits that you should definitely offer, you can also supplement them with your own unique additional benefits that reflect your company and brand. With so much on the line, here are three components to include to improve your truck driver benefits package.

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thank-you

One of the biggest complaints from truck drivers is not about salary or benefits, but rather that they don’t feel appreciated by their fleets. Drivers want to feel like an integral part of the team, not just another number or a cog in the machine. National Truck Driver Appreciation Week in September is a great time to set aside and show drivers your appreciation, but it doesn’t have to stop there.

Driver appreciation can and should be a year-round activity. After all, appreciation is a key component of driver retention. So whether you’re a recruiter, dispatcher, fleet manager, or executive, take some time to show your drivers how much you and your company value them. Here are seven truck driver appreciation ideas you can use anytime.

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