End of 2018 Shows Turnover Decrease

by | Jan 15, 2019

Turnover rates down, but is it all good news?

Some good news for the trucking industry in the third quarter of 2018—turnover rates fell 11% at large truckload carriers, down from 98% to 87%. But as with most statistics, there’s a lot more to these numbers than meets the eye.

  • Softer freight markets: Driver turnover rates are measured in part based on the demand for drivers. When there is a high demand for drivers—that is, more freight than drivers—the turnover rates can skew a bit high. The second half of 2018 saw a softer freight market—that is, less freight to move overall. In those conditions, turnover rates reflect an equalizing between freight and drivers. Carriers aren’t hiring as many drivers when there’s not as much freight to move, and drivers aren’t moving around as much between carriers.
  • Overall hiring increases: The driver shortage is a consistent concern for carriers across the nation, but overall, the industry added more than 15,000 jobs in the second half of 2018 and nearly 32,000 jobs from January through October of last year. While the industry is still short about 50,000 drivers, the gap is starting to close.
  • Large carriers vs. smaller carriers: Generally speaking, the larger carriers tend to have higher turnover than small or medium carriers. The turnover rate for small carriers in the third quarter of 2018 was 72%–unchanged from the previous quarter, and less-than-truckload carriers saw a small decrease in turnover from 14% to 10% in the same period. Smaller carriers typically service more local customers, allowing drivers to spend more time at home than they would driving for a large carrier. Drivers who spend more time at home tend to have higher job satisfaction. At our sister companies, FV Martin and Martin Transportation, turnover rates typically fall between 20-25%, far below industry average.

Of course, while evaluating turnover rates does require some careful analysis, it’s certainly encouraging to see that companies are hiring and drivers are staying in the industry. Higher wages, better benefits, local routes, and more personal attention—in other words, an employer that takes a personal interest in and makes a connection with drivers—all encourage drivers to stay at their current carriers.

As the industry continues to evaluate turnover and attract and retain drivers, there are a variety of technologies on the horizon that will improve the driver experience. Software innovations, technologies that help drivers stay connected to family during long hauls, and self-driving trucks can all make driving more appealing to a younger, tech-savvy, and community-oriented workforce. In addition, truck stops and rest areas continue to make over-the-road trips more appealing with amenities like shopping, movie theaters, onsite physicals, and more.

If you are looking for a truck driving job where you can be home more often, please contact our sister companies, FV Martin and Martin Transportation. And of course, if you are looking to move into the freight broker side of the industry, please check out American Freight’s job listings. We look forward to hearing from you!