More than 90% of fleets had unseated trucks in the fourth quarter despite the capacity crunch the industry is facing, according to the Trends in Truckload Recruitment and Retention report, a nonscientific survey of recruiters at the fleet clients of Driver iQ.
Further, 34% of fleets had 6% or more of their trucks unseated.
That doesn’t fit with a DAT Solutions finding that the load-to-truck ratio in December for dry vans was nine loads for every truck, the highest rate ever. DAT found that load-to-truck ratios for reefers and flatbeds were both near all-time highs.
But the disparity makes sense when considering the current driver shortage, Driver iQ Co-President Lana Batts said. The Tulsa, Okla.-based firm provides background screening services for the trucking industry, and its clients oversee about 50,000 trucks.
“These are fleets that own a truck, but they don’t have a driver they can put in it. It’s parked by the back fence ready to go but there’s no driver,” Batts said.
That forces them into a constant recruiting mode, hungry for new drivers. “They’re like the plant in ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ saying, ‘Feed me,’ ” she said.
The shortage also may be impacting the nearly 60% of recruiters that said they expect driver compensation will increase in the current quarter. A little more than half of carriers say they are offering sign-on bonuses to attract drivers. About 40% of recruiters expect driver compensation to remain the same this quarter and none believes that pay and benefits will decline.