SALT LAKE CITY — The transportation industry is facing some serious retention issues at the moment. Current driver turnover is some of the highest ever seen, and it’s continuing to grow. Despite this, the majority of drivers surveyed by the Professional Driver Agency this spring said they’re not looking for a new job. When asked why, the two most common responses were that the drivers are either happy with their current employer or nervous about making a move in this economy.
If drivers aren’t actively seeking new employment, then what’s responsible for the churn rate?
Well, it’s complicated. A number of factors are contributing to the problem — older, more experienced drivers are retiring, many drivers are getting burned out on OTR and switching to local, and the demanding nature of the job is attracting fewer new drivers to the industry.
The result? It’s a driver’s market.
Carriers are recognizing the incredible demand for drivers and doing everything in their power to keep the drivers they already have. This is forcing recruiting departments to find creative ways to lure drivers with the promise of better perks and compensation.
Unsurprisingly, the majority of drivers surveyed cited pay and home time as the two most important factors tied to driver satisfaction. This begs the question: If all carriers are raising pay and doing their best to accommodate home time while delivering for customers, how can a carrier stand out from the pack and attract drivers in such a crowded field?
ShipEX is a growing Utah-based carrier that has been doing things differently pretty much since its inception. The company made waves in 2015 by being the first major carrier to switch from a cents-per-mile model to a salary base with performance bonuses in order to provide financial stability and peace of mind for its drivers.
ShipEX provides a number of other benefits with overall driver well-being in mind — including paying 100% of driver medical premiums, a 401(k) plan with a generous company match, paid home time, and many perks. But that’s not what caught our attention.
Driver self-expression and inclusion
The carrier also encourages self-expression and inclusion by allowing drivers to pick a truck of almost any color, as long as it is on the “ready line” when they’re hired. If a color they want isn’t available, they can request a swap later on.
ShipEX also allows drivers who have been with the company for 12 months and are in good standing with their DM and safety to get a custom wrap for their truck.
“We want drivers to be happy here, and we understand that self-expression is an important part of feeling fulfilled as a human being. Especially when you spend most of your time in a work vehicle.” ShipEX Marketing Director Vadim Komarov told The Trucker. “We have drivers from all different backgrounds and walks of life, and we want them all to feel welcome and accepted.”
ShipEX does wraps to honor every branch of the military and all types of causes for which drivers would like to raise awareness.
“We recently did our first LGBTQ+ wrap for a driver named Ryan Walters. His is a hybrid LGBTQ/autism awareness wrap that also honors his brother who died and had autism,” Vadim said. “We are happy to do more, but as far as I know, he is the first to request one this type of wrap. We will do pretty much any theme that a driver wants, our only real rule is nothing political.”
Is ShipEX setting a new trend? It will be interesting to see if more carriers follow ShipEX’s lead as they try to come up with new and creative ways to attract drivers in a very robust recruiting environment.
To find out more about ShipEX, click here to visit the carrier’s website.