The number of active truck drivers continues to fall well short of the overall industry demand. Fleets and recruiters across the country are constantly searching for new ways to attract and keep qualified drivers. One of the best ways to find out how to attract a new crop of drivers is to see what the current ones are saying about the state of things. After all, who would know better than the men and women already out on the road?
The Average Truck Driver
The average trucker is on the road a lot. With less than 60% of those polled being long haul truckers, the average miles logged still came in at 106,350 miles annually. That means the average trucker can look to log anywhere between 2,000-3,000 miles per week. Logging that many miles equates to long periods of time being away from their homes and loved ones. So, what makes them do it? Why spend their lives shuttling back and forth in the small confines of a truck cab? As it turns out . . . there’s few reasons.
Why Do Truckers Do It?
Through the course of polling we learned a good bit about what exactly makes truckers tick. First and foremost, why did they decide to hit the road to begin with?
There’s a variety of reasons that seem to have steered them towards their chosen occupation. For some, it’s become a tradition and is almost seen as a right of passage. Growing up with a truck driver as a mom or dad, it was only natural for them to follow in their parent’s footsteps. Others found the allure of a job without a boss constantly nagging them or looking over their shoulder too good to pass up. Then there’s the group that just longed for the freedom of the open road.
It takes a special kind of person to commit to the trucking lifestyle. Knowing what drove them to that decision in the first place is a valuable piece of knowledge that can be used during the recruiting process.
An overwhelming majority of current drivers were attracted to the freedom offered by the open road. Making this a primary selling point to prospects would likely hit a chord with them. Emphasizing the lack of a boss watching over them could be the push to nudge other prospects into making the decision and joining the driving force. By studying and understanding what attracted current drivers to the profession, recruiting campaigns can be better equipped to successfully convert prospects and gain qualified drivers for fleets.
What Do the Drivers Think the Problem Is?
Drivers have left the industry at an alarming rate, and so far new recruits have not been able to fill the hole left in the depleted workforce. So, what exactly is causing this exodus? What is the problem? It seems like there would be no one better equipped to answer those questions than the drivers themselves. Here’s what they had to say.
Let’s start with the easy ones. We can all relate to these two. A huge part of the driver pool site pay and time off as being a major factors of why fleets are having a hard time finding drivers today. A staggering 78.6% feel they don’t get paid enough. Couple that with the 62% who feel they don’t get enough time at home, and you start to see the problem. But, everyone feels that way no matter what job they have. Right? Who doesn’t want more time off and more money for the work they do?
So, what else are they saying? Surely there’s more to the problem than that. There are some other common complaints and qualms such as not enough miles or loads, no career paths or opportunities to move up in the organization, and being provided with sub par equipment; but in the grand scheme of things those are relatively minor complaints.
There is, however, an area that most drivers seem to agree is causing them frustration and headaches. Truckers are very upset with how they are being treated by their fleets. Even though they are out on the road on their own, drivers still want to feel like they matter and are a part of the team. Seemingly that is something that the drivers don’t feel is currently happening. When faced with difficult shippers or law enforcement, they don’t think they receive the necessary support to get through the situations. Possibly the biggest bone of contention is respect. Almost 70% of those polled say that fleets don’t respect their drivers or the job they do.
How Does This Effect Recruiting?
Given the current climate and how drivers are leaving the road it’s more important than ever to listen to their opinions and concerns. Keeping the current drivers happy will ensure they stay on the road and continue to keep the industry running. Perhaps even more importantly, however, the information they provide can be used to entice new prospects to join fleets. Hearing about the areas drivers feel their companies are falling short in can help fleets improve and know exactly what drivers are looking for and what to offer them. Improving in these areas is the key to not only maintaining the number of drivers in the workforce, but will also be vital to growing that number as companies continue to move forward.
Knowing what current drivers think is hurting fleets, allows you to address these areas in driver recruiting. Over three-quarters of drivers don’t think they’re paid enough. If you offer a higher than average pay rate, that’s a fact that can be used to set you apart from others in the recruitment process. Knowing that truckers have complaints about not feeling supported by their fleet, could lead to focusing on the great relationships between dispatchers and drivers at a particular fleet.
By knowing these details and exactly what areas drivers perceive fleets to be failing in, it allows you to accentuate the positives and advantages offered. Drivers will always have complaints and want fleets to do some things differently, but knowing what these criticisms are helps point out the positives and show how you address those concerns.
Truckers Want What We All Want
The promise of freedom on the open road may have attracted them to the business, but in the end, they’re people just like us. They want to be respected, supported, and valued by their employers. They want more time at home with their families. And they want to be compensated for all the time and energy. Who doesn’t want that? A job we enjoy, good pay, and time with our loved ones is something everyone wants and strives for, no matter what their occupation is.
Looking to the Future
As time goes on, the demand for qualified truck drivers will remain high. With a shortage upon us, keeping current drivers happy and on the road is critical. It’s important fleets address their concerns and look at them not as faceless numbers, but as the hard-working men and women they are; and a valued part of the team. Doing this will not only make sure today’s drivers are content, but also give fleets the best chance to recruit new drivers in the weeks, months, and years to come.