Driver Turnover Update
According to Bob Costello, the chief economist for ATA, freight volumes are slowly, but steadily, rising. This trend has increased the need for truck drivers. He stated that he believes there is a shortage of between 20,000 and 30,000 drivers in the trucking industry. He expects those numbers to increase as freight volumes continue to grow. ATA contends that the shortage is of quality truck drivers rather than the number of drivers. Costello stated that carriers are increasingly competing for drivers who have clean histories because of regulatory oversight changes.
According to the quarterly Trucking Activity Report compiled by the American Trucking Association, the turnover rate of linehaul truckload fleets broke the 100 percent barrier in the second quarter. According to them, that is the first time in over four years that this has occurred.
The trucking report revealed that the driver turnover rate for fleets who report over $30 million in revenue rose to 106 percent; an increase of 16 percentage points. That is the highest it has been since the fourth quarter of 2007. Driver turnover has not been over the 100 percent mark since the first quarter in 2008. Smaller fleet driver turnover rose to 86 percent. That surge placed it at its highest rate since the third quarter in 2007.
From 1995 to 2012, records show that the lowest turnover was in the first quarter in 2010. At that time, large fleets reported a turnover of 39 percent while small fleets reported a turnover rate of 35 percent. The record high for large fleets, 136 percent, occurred in the fourth quarters of both 2004 and 2005. Small fleets report a high of 114 percent in the third quarter in 2006.
Fleets who are classified less-than-truckload reported a 9 percent turnover rate in the second quarter. That is a 1 percent jump from the first quarter.
Driver turnover is a huge problem for trucking fleets. According to the above statistics, the turnover problem is largely a problem of larger fleets since the less-than-truckload fleets have the lowest rate of driver turnover. As freight volumes increase, the larger fleets will probably offer higher pay per mile, incentives, and signing bonuses in an attempt to attract and keep experienced drivers. This is likely to lower the driver turnover percentages because drivers will not be as likely to change fleets because of higher pay and other incentives.
The Transport Capital Partners (TCP) does not expect driver turnover rates to improve during the remainder of 2012. They conducted a survey that revealed that 95 percent of the fleets expected to increase wages during the remainder of 2012. They believe that the small increases in salaries will exacerbate the turnover rate and will not attract new truck drivers to enter the truck driving industry.