The age-old driver shortage has once again become a spotlight issue for the industry. Experts, and others purporting to be experts, are ramping up the rhetoric with dire prognostications. Most recently, several luminaries were quoted in the article Fleets Boost Retention Efforts as Drivers Shop for Better Pay (subscription required), in the April 4, 2011 edition of Transport Topics. The contributing quotes, as well as the entire article are misguided. To a person, they assert the need to raise driver pay as a hedge against turnover. WRONG.
Our research shows that drivers may leave the industry because of pay (about 10% of turnover), but they don’t leave one carrier to go to another because of pay. It’s always something else. So why is everyone so willing to bump up pay? We believe that all too often, trucking owners and executives don’t understand the dynamics of voluntary turnover. They are accustomed to throwing money at the problem, usually in the form of excessive recruiting and advertising costs to backfill open seats.
Our most recent research isolated 192 discrete reasons why a driver might leave one carrier to go to another. Although 16 of them are related to compensation, none had anything to do with CPM. Our upcoming white paper, Become A Great Trucking Company details our findings and describes at a high level, strategies that can reduce turnover in a what will certainly be a tough year for the industry.