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November 3, 2021 6:30 PM, EDT

Survey Finds 65% of Truck Drivers Not Looking for New Job

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The majority of truck drivers are not looking for a new job amid a market in which demand is outweighing supply, according to results of a survey released Nov. 2.

The Examining Driver Opinions in Today’s Driver Market survey was conducted by Conversion Interactive Agency and Professional Driver Agency. It found 65.4% of truck drivers are not looking for a new job. Only 34.6% said they are, which is down 2.2% from this May.

“The driver shortage remains a top concern for the trucking industry, and listening to drivers is critical in this market,” Conversion CEO Kelley Walkup said in a statement. “Our industry needs to focus on hearing what drivers have to say, adjusting our business models to improve life on the road for them, and lining up our recruiting and retention strategies with the driver’s lifestyle in mind.”

Dismuke

Dismuke

The survey noted that the 2.2% decrease in drivers looking for a new job might seem insignificant. But it warns in a truck driver market that will need 1.1 million new drivers over the next decade, according to American Trucking Associations, this decline is significant.

“Not only is recruiting truck drivers tough today, but retaining them continues to prove challenging for motor carriers,” said Scott Dismuke, PDA vice president of operations. “The companies that are retaining their drivers best are the ones focused on clear communication with drivers regarding home time and pay, providing quality equipment and holding their internal personnel accountable for building relationships with drivers.”

The survey found that of those drivers not looking for a job, the top reason was they are happy where they are at (62.7%). That was followed by wanting more experience (17.5%), being retired from trucking (8.9%), health (4.7%) and being afraid to make a move in the current economy (4.2%).

Drivers also responded that the No. 1 reason they decide to leave a carrier is compensation, at 33.9%. That was followed by home time consistency (21.6%), not wanting to complain about issues or frustrations (11%), communication (8.7%) and relationship with driver manager (7.5%).

“If compensation is the main reason drivers leave a carrier, then based on these survey results, equipment is important, too,” Dismuke said. “In the thousands of conversations we’re having with drivers every month, we are understanding more and more that equipment issues impact almost every area of the driver’s biggest concerns.”

The survey collected 1,172 responses directly from professional truck drivers from Sept. 2 to Oct. 4. It also asked the drivers about a wide variety of other concerns, including their opinion on the hiring process, where they are hanging out online and what they are listening to in their truck.

RoadSigns

In this episode, host Michael Freeze asks, how are companies saving money by leasing trucks rather than owning? For answers, we speak with Jim Lager of Penske Truck Leasing and Al Barner of strategic fleet solutions at Fleet Advantage. Hear a snippet above, and get the full program by going to RoadSigns.TTNews.com.

“Carriers must focus on a diversified media mix to reach both passive and active drivers in today’s market,” Walkup said. “Just showing up on job boards and online search isn’t going to build your brand among drivers who are not actively looking. Pushing out online content that truck drivers engage with is critical to recruiting.”

The survey also asked participants whether they have received a coronavirus vaccination. It found 54.6% of truck drivers were vaccinated while 36.1% were not and do not plan to be. Just 9.3% were not but planned to get vaccinated.

Conversion and PDA warned that with a significant percentage of drivers having no plans for vaccination, this sets up a challenge for motor carriers depending on how vaccine mandates play out both on the federal and state level.

The survey advised that carriers should have a plan in place to deal with potential vaccine mandates. But it noted that small carriers could benefit from recruiting surges depending on how the mandates are enforced and regulated. A federal proposal would apply only to companies with at least 100 employees.

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