Jan 11, 2021
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2021 High Trucking Turnover Rate: Why It Spells Good News for Truckers of the Industry

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The trucking industry has long suffered from a high trucking turnover rate that averages 87 percent. To put that into perspective, the construction industry has a 21.4 percent turnover rate. While it might sound like a bad thing and it can be for trucking companies, this hands employee truck drivers a prime opportunity. Trucking companies do whatever they can to lower the turnover rate with bonus pay, better benefits, higher pay, and yearly pay increases. Everything looks promising because of a growing truck driver shortage that sits at a need for 60,000 drivers. Those who hop in with this career will have companies competing for their talent with the best packages. The drivers have more negotiation power.

More Pronounced with Big Trucking Companies

The problem is especially pronounced with the more prominent trucking companies. If you have known any truck driver long enough, you have probably heard of them switching companies as the salary and benefits were better elsewhere. Trucking companies must compete to keep the best drivers on their payroll.

Big trucking especially has the revenue to compete for the better drivers. However, they’re infamous for empty promises, which could explain why big trucking has a higher turnover rate. The smaller trucking companies inspire more loyalty from drivers.

Stable Job That Won’t Vanish

Perhaps one of the best things about the trucking industry comes from stability. You have a job where it won’t evaporate overnight. Trucking supports the American economy by delivering store goods to shelves across America. They support manufacturing, retail, construction, and pharmaceuticals. Think of any sector, and trucking supports it through the delivery of goods. The modern world couldn’t exist without the delivery of goods from semi-trucks as 80 percent of the US depends on trucker deliveries.

Why Does Trucking Have a High Turnover Rate?

You have multiple reasons for why truckers have leverage. The factors driving a high turnover rate include:

  • Long hours isolated behind the wheel
  • Health problems from hours of inactivity
  • Failure to meet expectations
  • Millennials have different values than past generations.

Provided you can look past things like this; truck driving offers you a promising career with rising pay. You can take the turnover rate and play it to your advantage if you decide on a career in trucking. We call it a job, but you have many truckers who would consider it a lifestyle. The high turnover rate means that companies can’t make unnecessary demands like in other industries. With jobs where supply is greater than need, you have to fight for a job. Trucking, in comparison, has companies fighting for you to work for them.

Increased Wages to Fill Positions

Because of the struggle to keep positions filled at the more prominent companies, trucking has raised their overall rates. The truck driver shortage will keep a tight capacity in 2021. Getting drivers to join the driver pool has proven difficult during the pandemic as some drivers don’t want to take the risk. With the shortage of drivers, it has delayed the shipment of goods.

How Does the Turnover Rate Differ for Smaller Carriers

The trucking turnover rate for smaller carriers only differs slightly, and you still have a high trucking turnover rate at 73 percent. Finding qualified drivers remains a challenge in any trucking industry, which has forced them to raise the rates. For truckers, they receive better pay because the jobs remain high in demand. The driver shortage only exacerbates the  trucking turnover rate. Those who sign up with a driver recruitment program may find the job climate more favorable.

Since 2013, the Driver Compensation Study reports how truck drivers’ median salary has increased by 15 percent.

Must Resolve More Than the Pay

To resolve the trucker shortage and better handle the trucking turnover rate, trucking companies will have to address more than the salary. They might use non-monetary tactics like appreciation programs, performance bonuses, improve follow-up communication, and invest in retention programs.

Related story: Improving the Lifestyle of America’s Truck Drivers

Driving the High Turnover Rate

One lesser factor driving the high trucking turnover rate could come from how drivers have to maintain an electronic logging device. Many times, this device isn’t user friendly. For older truckers who don’t navigate technology and the younger drivers, this can lead to early retirement. If they want to address the trucking turnover rate, they should make the electronic logging device as simple as possible. Only 21 percent of truck drivers reported feeling happy with their ELD, according to a KeepTruckin Survey.

Driver Turnover Rate Continues Rising

Statistics show that the driver turnover rate increases with it as high as 97 percent at some companies. Driver recruitment has proven as challenging as retaining drivers over the long term. We should emphasize how the driver turnover rate doesn’t reflect the driver shortage. The two things differ significantly. The demand for freight keeps rising, and as this happens, an ever-rising need for drivers will exist with unrealistic demands. Many times, this leads to a higher trucking turnover rate.

How to Play the High Trucking Turnover Rate to Your Advantage

First, you may want to specialize in one of the higher-paying jobs in trucking, such as tanker hauling, hazmat hauling, luxury car driving, team driving, or private fleets. Taking the time to develop the qualifications can almost guarantee you a high paying job because of the high demand for truckers.

Beware of companies that make empty promises. Look at each company’s reviews to see if they have ripped off drivers in the past with bonuses. Nowadays, information like this is readily available on the internet. You do have some great companies out there who always deliver on their promises. Be aware of promises that sound farfetched or too good to be true.

Related story: The Pay Structure, Compensation, and Benefits of Being a Trucker

Failure to Deliver on Promises

Trucking suffers from one other fatal flaw that has led to a higher trucking turnover rate. With driver recruitment programs, they make huge promises. The large companies have mostly done things like this by making big promises and failing to keep them. Many truckers will tell you how it is easy for the company to withhold your bonus by a technicality. For example, they could argue that you didn’t get enough miles, were late on deliveries, or didn’t keep the truck clean. This has led to many angry drivers leaving the company. Big companies especially have a reputation for doing things like this to drive their profits higher. Are they shortsighted in doing this?

Longhaul Trucking Takes a Special Kind of Person

Longhaul truckers can spend weeks or even months on the road without going home. They sacrifice this time away from family and friends and miss holidays and birthdays and important events. Longhaul truckers live out of their truck. Unlike in previous generations, not everyone in the millennial generation has found that appealing, which has meant that the trucking turnover rate is even higher than in the past. The trucking turnover rate in trucking has always been high, however.

People going into a trucking career right now have the advantage, but they need to keep realistic expectations. Build a career in the same way that you would any other industry through developing your qualifications. Don’t let any trucking company take advantage of you through false promises. In an industry like the trucking industry, if anyone takes advantage of you, you can simply look for a newer and better company. Finding work as a trucker has never been difficult with everyone looking for qualified drivers. hopes that this article addresses Trucking Turnover Rate in great detail. Feel free to add your thoughts by leaving us a comment below.

Truck drivers should also check out our free truck driving job postings.

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