There are multiple underlying reasons why the United States is facing a driver shortage. Some of the largest obstacles include:
- Drivers must be 21 years of age to drive on the interstate
- Only 6% of the workforce are women
- Most insurance companies require two years of driving experience to be considered an eligible driver
We also face new challenges with online shopping and how goods are delivered. As a result, last mile delivery is the fastest-growing sector in transportation. Many major shippers are pushing to keep freight rates depressed while still ensuring goods are delivered in a timely manner. Unfortunately, we have seen motor freight carriers ultimately have to close their doors as they could not keep up with these standards.
What can we do to attract and hire more qualified drivers? How can we compete with the retail giants of the world who are paying their drivers almost $90,000 a year? How do you stand out from your competition?
Motor carriers need to send the right message and make sure they are targeting the right candidates. Do not spend money on TV, radio or print ads. Do you advertise the lane driver would be running? Do you offer benefits? Is your advertising gender restrictive? What type of equipment will they be driving? How is the work life balance and does it differ from your competition? Lastly, how often do you change your message? Consider these key factors in your message.
Once onboard, how do you keep drivers happy and not lose them to competition? One logistics company just added a chef who will prepare meals for drivers and put in an office gym. Another transportation group incentivizes their drivers to recruit other drivers in addition to putting them behind the wheel of new top of the line trucks with all the comforts of home. These unique ideas are helping with driver retention. Quality of life, comfort, home time and drivers knowing they are respected are all top priorities of today’s drivers.
There may be relief coming in the next few years with the “Driver Safe Act” which will reduce the minimum interstate driving age from 21 to 18 years old. Some insurance carriers offer insurance products to inexperienced drivers. In addition, the use of self-driving and convoy truck systems may all be part of long-term solution. However, in the meantime this driver shortage is something that companies need to take head on to protect their largest assets. For help retaining qualified drivers with a review of your onboarding and retention techniques, contact an AssuredPartners Transportation expert.