Fleets are trying adapt to a emerging driver shortage environment by experimenting with new human resource tactics to attract and retain drivers.
Pay increases, switching to more dedicated operations, surveying drivers on their wants and need are just some efforts being undertaken by fleets to try and find ways to solve the ongoing driver shortage. Fleet Owner magazine reports.
One truck driver survey issued by logistics conglomerate National Retail System seeks to identify roadblocks in the truck driver recruiting and retention process. The survey concluded that the biggest impediments to pursuing a truck driving career remain pay, home time, and benefits.
A spokesman for NRS said recruiting for local truck driver jobs isn’t exactly easy, just less challenging than long-haul positions where home time is less frequent.
Kevin Knight, chairman and CEO for TL carrier Knight Transportation noted in the company’s second quarter earnings release that developing and retaining high quality driving associates remains a significant challenge to the industry.
“Despite a strong freight environment, the current driver supply situation has been a headwind for adding additional capacity,” he said. “[Thus] our driver development and training programs remain a primary focus area for our management team.”
Swift Transportation recently rolled out a new multi-pronged effort to improve its driver recruiting and retention efforts that includes pay raises and the development of more dedicated operations.
“We are instituting a large driver pay increase in the third quarter [and] if current driver shortages continue, driver wages may continue to increase, but probably not to the extent of the increase we are giving this year to our drivers,” said Jerry Moyes, Swift’s founder and CEO, during the carrier’s second quarter earnings conference call with analysts and reporters.
“The dedicated business is much more driver friendly,” he added. “It’s more consistent, predictable and generally allows for more regular home time. All of which are desirable in a difficult driver retention market like that which we are facing today. [That’s why] we are currently talking to our customers about the need to get more money in the hands of our drivers.”
NRS’s Saville noted that his company is working to try and develop more “flexible” schedules to enable truck drivers to be home more often at times they desire, while also casting a broader net through different communication mediums to find new and willing recruits.
“Recruitment in the year 2014 is not like how it was 20 years ago where one newspaper ad would suffice to hire your operation’s needs,” he explained. “Today’s recruitment efforts are a full-out campaign, which includes hiring fairs, flyers, banners, multiple recruitment sites, blogging, a social media presence, targeted emails, and mobile application optimization to name a few.”
Saville added that industry leaders are well aware that without a revolving door of drivers, carriers cannot meet customer demands, which ultimately affects consumers who will feel the impact when they go to the store and see aisles of empty shelves.