The driver shortage is nothing new. The lack of qualified drivers entering the industry — coupled with a workforce on the precipice of retirement — has been a major concern for carriers across the industry over the past several years. This long-standing issue was only exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, which prompted some existing drivers to retire early while temporarily closing CDL schools to new entrants.
The continuing shortage — along with the industry’s infamously high turnover rates — inspired Tenstreet to partner with FreightWaves to better understand why drivers leave carriers and what they look for in new roles. Almost 4,000 drivers responded to a survey published by the pair earlier this month, revealing valuable insights about driver turnover and what drivers prioritize when applying for new roles.
When it comes to attracting new drivers who have already decided to make a change or are just now entering the workforce, carriers should fine-tune their application processes and job descriptions. Over 44% of respondents said that job requirements are one of the most important factors they consider when applying for jobs. If carriers are getting fewer applicants than expected, it may be time to update the requirements section of the job description. That includes both making expectations clearer and potentially eliminating noncritical requirements — like having several years of experience — that may scare newer drivers away.
After job requirements, drivers reported caring the most about the overall job description (40%), the use of an IntelliApp (38%) and pay (31%). These priorities make it clear that drivers want to know what to expect on the job. They also want to be able to apply easily and know the new position will come with a pay increase.
The importance of the IntelliApp may surprise some carriers. The IntelliApp is a mobile-friendly online application that automatically populates the applicant’s information to make applying for jobs faster and easier. While this may seem like no big deal to some, it makes applying for jobs on the road much easier.
When asked just how important the presence of an IntelliApp is when applying to a carrier, 30% of drivers said it was extremely important and 35% of drivers said it was very important. About 20% of respondents said it was moderately important, while only 6% and 9% said it was slightly important or not important at all, respectively.
This means 85% of drivers place at least moderate importance on being able to easily apply for jobs via Tenstreet’s IntelliApp. If carriers want to attract more applicants, especially experienced drivers who are already busy on the road, they must work to streamline their application process. Partnering with Tenstreet to implement an IntelliApp is the quickest and simplest way to do that.
Carriers should also be aware of where drivers are looking for job postings, how long they are willing to wait for a response and how many carriers they are applying to at the same time. This knowledge allows carriers to further optimize their hiring processes.
The majority of surveyed drivers (51%) said they discover new carriers via Facebook groups. About 32% rely on word of mouth. The next most popular answers — Tenstreet’s Driver Pulse and LinkedIn — each won 28% of the vote. If carriers hope to reach more drivers, they need to meet those drivers where they are. Resources like Tenstreet’s Driver Pulse and LinkedIn job boards can help boost these efforts. This question allowed for multiple answers, and results suggest that drivers are looking in multiple places.
There are a wide variety of reasons that drivers choose to leave carriers. According to survey results, the top three reasons are the consistency of work (39%), home time (36%) and pay (33%). Survey respondents were allowed to select multiple reasons for leaving, and other factors including people, routes and benefits garnered attention from between 25% and 30% of drivers.
Keeping trucks loaded, getting drivers home more often and decent pay all come together to contribute to a happier workforce. For carriers focusing on retention, these areas deserve the bulk of their attention. Once the basics are taken care of, carriers should focus on improving other aspects of their drivers’ day-to-day experiences to keep them loyal.
It is important to note that most drivers are willing to wait less than two days after they apply to hear back from a carrier before moving on. About 26% of respondents said they are willing to wait up to 24 hours, while 40% said they are willing to wait up to 48 hours. Only 8% were willing to wait more than one week. At the same time, 39% of drivers said they apply with up to five carriers at one time and 37% said they apply to up to 10 carriers at once.
These survey results have made it clear that carriers need to streamline their job requirements, meet drivers where they are, make the application process easy, and respond quickly. Driver recruitment is multifaceted, and failure to do any of these things can result in a driver losing interest in a particular carrier.
Partnering with Tenstreet can help ensure a carrier’s hiring process meets driver expectations, making it quicker and easier to grow a fleet.
Click the button below to see the full results from the recent driver survey.