From David Cullen, TruckingInfo:
Throwing money at a problem isn’t always the solution. But if you need to find and keep long-haul truck drivers in today’s competitive job market, how much to increase their pay — in one form or another — has to be a key tactical consideration.
Boosting driver pay has long been avoided or at least downplayed by many long-haul fleets bedeviled by the twin demons of a driver shortage and high turnover — not surprising, as no business ever finds it easy to roll back pay hikes.
Hence many fleets have done everything but outright increase pay to recruit and retain drivers. Instead, these operations have focused more on providing new equipment spec’ed for driver comfort; implementing as many driver-friendly operational tweaks as possible, such as promising “no-touch freight” and more time at home, and offering generous healthcare and retirement benefits. These fleets may have also upped pay, but typically only through various incentive and bonus offerings, rather than dishing out straight-up increases in mileage-based or hourly pay rates.
But those approaches are increasingly seen as not good enough. Not with a U.S. economy that is by nearly all measures booming, after having escaped the doldrums that constrained it after the Great Recession. Now, the country’s reinvigorated economic engine is forcefully impacting the driver market with a one-two punch: Just when there are more desirable job opportunities available in years for high school graduates, demand for drivers is being driven up and up by a sizzling freight market.