What’s Causing the Truck Driver Shortage and High Job Turnover?
Long hours – workdays are as long as 14 hours, with up to 11 hours of driving
Distance from home – truck drivers are separate from family and friends, and typically only spend 1 weekend per month at home
Stressful conditions – truckers face tight deadlines for pickup and delivery, difficult weather conditions, aggressive or distracted drivers in cars, difficulty finding truck parking, and serious consequences for accidental Hours of Service violations caused by any of the above factors
Low Salary – despite the challenges of the job, median pay for truck drivers is $37,770 per year
How Big is the Driver Shortage Problem?
As the aging workforce of drivers exit the industry due to retirement or health-related issues, the shortage of drivers was 98,000 in 2017, and is projected to reach 150,000 unfilled positions by 2020. Demand for new drivers is 4x the available supply.
How Much Does Truck Driver Turnover Cost?
The cost to replace a driver puts a heavy strain on the trucking industry. The average cost of driver turnover is $8,200 per driver, which includes recruitment advertising expenses, entry and exit administration, fixed asset costs of idle equipment, profit lost due to idle equipment, safety and regulatory expenses (drug testing, background checks), new driver orientation costs, and productivity loss.
The cost of turnover per driver is 3x the average cost of turnover for US employees. If you take into account the salary of the employee doing the hiring, the trucking industry has the most expensive hiring cost in the US.
How Frequently Do Truck Drivers Change Jobs?
On average, truckers stay with their employer for only 1 year. The average tenure for US employees in other industries is 4.4 years.
The ebb and flow to the driver shortage is inversely correlated to the strength of the US economy. The trucking industry typically sees an increase in drivers during economic recessions when other jobs are difficult to find, which also coincides with a lower demand for shipping freight, and these two factors reduce the driver shortage during recessions. When the economy is growing with a strong job market, truck drivers leave the industry at a higher rate to take jobs in other industries, and the increased demand for shipping freight combines to quickly expand the driver shortage.