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Truck drivers are increasingly more interested in switching carriers, with 37.4% saying they are looking for a new job, according to a survey released May 31.
The Examining Driver Opinions in Today’s Driver Market survey also found that 62.4% of drivers are not looking for a new job. Compared with a year ago, the percentage of those who are looking increased from 36.4% and those who are not dipped from 63.6%.
Conversion Interactive Agency and People. Data. Analytics (PDA) conducted the survey.
“I don’t think it necessarily surprised me that it went up a little bit,” Scott Dismuke, vice president of operations at PDA, told Transport Topics. “The pay raises that the industry has seen over the last year and a half combined with the freight being very strong post-COVID, I think all of that kind of played into those numbers being relatively low as far as the drivers saying that they’re looking for a job. But we have started to see that tick up a little bit.”
Dismuke noted that drivers had been experiencing pay raises and a lot of miles since freight demand started surging during the pandemic. But he noted things appear to be correcting themselves somewhat. This could be affecting pay in some places, which could motivate drivers to look elsewhere.
“We still see a lot of marketing for higher pay and pay raises from companies,” Dismuke said. “A lot of aggressive marketing, aggressive recruiting. I think that all of that combined is why we at least saw in this survey an uptick in drivers saying that they’re looking for a job.”
The year-over-year increase of truck drivers looking for a new job has not been consistent, however. The fall 2021 survey found the number of truck drivers looking for a new job was 34.6% while those who weren’t was 65.4%. That means there has been a 3% increase in drivers looking for a new job between then and the most recent survey.
The drivers surveyed gave various reasons why they are not looking for a new job. The top reason was liking the pay of their current carrier at 35.9%. Other reasons included liking the miles being provided at 5.9%, liking the freight being carried at 7.4% and being satisfied with equipment at 4.1%.
One surprising result is 17.8% of drivers saying they needed more experience.
“I think that’s concerning,” Dismuke said. “Particularly to carriers that may be hiring students or less experienced drivers, that a substantial number of those drivers could be at risk for turnover once they hit that six-month mark, which is where a lot of carriers break on experience.”
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The survey also asked drivers whether the equipment and parts shortages are affecting their job, and 55.3% said they were not. Dismuke expected that to be lower given how difficult it has been for carriers to get new equipment and parts.
“Equipment has always been the top concern,” Dismuke said. “But with the equipment shortage, with new trucks being slower coming off the line, with supply chain issues regarding parts and things of that nature, I was a little surprised that roughly 55% of drivers said that the equipment and part shortage was not affecting their job. I thought that number would be a little bit lower just based on some of the feedback that we have been getting.”
Dismuke added that when digging into the numbers, it becomes clear equipment issues remain a concern. This may be because drivers could pick more than one option for that question. The survey showed 28% of drivers say it’s taking longer to fix their truck, 16.6% say their miles and their pay have been decreasing, 21% are waiting longer for an equipment upgrade and 10.4% said their truck is breaking down more.
“So, while there is 55% of those drivers saying that it hasn’t affected their job as of yet, there’s still a pretty significant number of drivers that are feeling the effects of the equipment part shortage by keeping trucks longer,” Dismuke said. “We’ve seen that in some of the feedback that we’re getting from drivers.”
The survey also concluded that monitoring online reviews is becoming a critical component of driver recruitment. It showed 71.6% of drivers said the most influential factor when choosing a carrier to drive for is online reviews from other drivers.
“We are living in the digital age of driver recruiting, and carriers that have not adopted innovative technologies are going to fall behind,” Conversion CEO Kelley Walkup said in a statement. “Truck drivers are creating online communities and basing their career choices on the reviews of other drivers. They are using social and digital media to look for new driving jobs, and the technology is constantly evolving.”