BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Equipment shortages, supply chain issues, high diesel prices — these issues are making a tough job even tougher for truck drivers across the U.S.
This, in turn, can make it difficult on driver recruiting and retention.
Conversion Interactive Agency and PDA (People, Data, Analytics) recently released their 2021 Driver Recruiting and Retention Annual Report, which shows equipment and compensation issues were the top concerns for drivers in 2021, just as they were in 2020.
The agencies compiled and analyzed data throughout 2021 to create a comprehensive resource highlighting trends affecting carriers’ driver recruiting and retention efforts.
“2021 was another unprecedented year for driver recruitment and retention,” Kelley Walkup, CEO and president for Conversion Interactive Agency said. “Not only did carriers deal with ongoing issues from the pandemic, but they were presented with new challenges such as labor shortages and equipment delays,” “We saw a shift in perspective last year regarding the need to adopt advanced technology when it comes to recruiting drivers. This shows us that not only are carriers understanding that need, but they are embracing it.”
According to the report, the need to implement lead-nurturing technology increased in 2021. Carriers who employed these automated technologies have shown great results in growing truck driver leads and supporting their recruiters. Automation plays a critical role in pre-qualifying drivers before a recruiter begins the hiring process.
“Trusted tools are being developed and improved upon every day,” Walkup said. “In 2022, carriers will have an opportunity to embrace these technologies and reap the rewards of improved cost-per-hire and time-to-hire.”
Online driver reviews played a major role in recruiting drivers during 2021. Drivers are looking for authentic reviews and experiences while searching for a job, the study noted.
With the average carrier rating at 3.74 stars, there is room for improvement within the industry.
Carriers with an intentional and consistent approach to managing their online reputation have seen drastic improvement over time.
“Managing online reputation is going to be a key player when recruiting drivers in 2022,” Walkup said. “When a driver is looking for a job, they want authentic feedback from those who have come before them. How your carrier responds to that will be a crucial factor in your success in driver recruiting.”
With industry-wide equipment delays, supply chain issues and labor shortages, breakdowns and mechanical issues were key to driver retention in 2021 and will continue to be crucial in 2022, according to the study.
“Equipment supply chain issues are clearly leading to driver frustration,” Scott Dismuke, vice president of operations for PDA, said. “With orders for new tractors still constrained by part delays and labor shortages, equipment issues are not going away any time soon. We see this trend continuing this year and possibly beyond.”
Dismuke noted that managing driver expectations during the equipment shortage will be a key factor in driver retention for 2022.
“Communication and setting expectations with drivers will be vital to reducing driver frustration during the equipment shortage,” Dismuke said. “PDA data has shown that a breakdown issue for a driver this week, usually leads to a compensation issue for a driver next week. When drivers are consistently in the shop, they aren’t logging miles, when they aren’t logging miles, they aren’t making the money promised.”
While miles-related compensation issues continued to be the top concern when it came to driver pay in 2021, it was down 14% from 2020 totals. Dismuke noted that in a strong freight market and a very competitive driver market, drivers struggling with miles continue to be a high turnover risk.
“In 2021, we saw very aggressive driver recruitment as well as many industry-wide pay increases,” Dismuke said. “If drivers are struggling with logging consistent miles in this freight market, they are a high turnover risk. Drivers see the advertisements; they know what companies are offering and have multiple options to go elsewhere.”
Dismuke stated that carriers that can quickly identify and intervene with drivers having issues will be important to retaining drivers in 2022.
Ultimately, Walkup and Dismuke agree that this will be another challenging year.
“Keeping the drivers that are in your trucks now is more important than it has ever been,” he said. “Driver retention in 2022 is going to be a true team effort. Equipment issues and compensation are closely related, so not only will operations play a key role in driver retention, but given the industry-wide equipment shortage, so will the maintenance departments.”
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.