May 19, 2015
Rising truck driver pay in recent years has stood in stark contrast to the slowing of other sectors of the U.S. economy. As a result, shipping prices have also rose significantly and continue to rise making trucking a less favorable option in supply chains. According to William Cassidy of the Journal of Commerce, “Another round of increases in driver pay is expected to drive truck pricing, especially in the truckload sector, higher for shippers as the year progresses”.
Pay increases on a scale of 8 to 12 percent are being discussed by many trucking companies, in addition to other incentives and bonuses. These increases lead to a direct and tangible impact for transportation divisions who rely heavily on truck shipments.
According to Charles W. Clowdis, “Every trucking company you call, they all say they’re short drivers”. It is a problem that has existed for decades but is making itself more readily apparent by the demanded higher wages and more favorable conditions that are being required to decrease driver turnover and sustain shipping fleets. Driver pay has been isolated as a variable more prominent than economic growth and increased demand in causing the rising truck rates that have been prominent throughout the latter half of 2014 and beginning of 2015. Yet pay may not be the solution required to attract drivers and retain them. Often the management of drivers is just as prominent a factor in their retention as pay and benefits.
According to David Schumann of Progressive Transportation, “It’s a misnomer to say there’s a driver shortage, we’re getting about 500 resumes a week”. Yet he goes on to mention that only three out of seven applicants have the qualifications necessary to be hired. It is evident that the lack of drivers is a lack of qualified drivers, as there are few programs focused on training and investing in drivers. Drivers are an essential facet of a supply chain and their satisfaction is essential in winning the customers. Yet all too often their management and pay do not result in the job satisfaction necessary to continue on in such an exhausting occupation. Wise companies are adapting to this reality by addressing driver concerns, investing in their development, and regulating the extent of their hours to ensure greater overall health and employee satisfaction. Yet we can expect wages to continue to increase until such a time as the culture surrounding trucking undergoes serious change.