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Driver Recruiting and Retention Agencies Release 2021 Annual Report

Parker Bohn

By: Parker Bohn, Marketing Account Executive, Conversion Interactive Agency

Posted: Feb 14, 2022

Categories: Data, White Paper

BRENTWOOD, TENN., February 14, 2022 – The largest driver recruitment advertising agency, Conversion Interactive Agency, and PDA (People, Data, Analytics), an industry leader in driver retention data and analytics, recently released their 2021 Driver Recruiting and Retention Annual Report. The agencies have 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. 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,” said Kelley Walkup, CEO and president for Conversion Interactive Agency. “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 have employed these automated technologies have shown great results in nurturing truck driver leads and supporting their recruiters. The 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,” said Walkup. “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. 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,” said Walkup. “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.”

As in 2020, equipment and compensation issues were the top concerns for drivers in 2021. 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.

“Equipment supply chain issues are clearly leading to driver frustration,” said Scott Dismuke, vice president of operations for PDA. “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,” said Dismuke. “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 continue 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,” said Dismuke. “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 have the ability to quickly identify and intervene with drivers having issues will be important to retaining drivers in 2022.

“Keeping the drivers that are in your trucks now, are more important than it has ever been,” said Dismuke. “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.”

While both agencies expect 2022 to be a pivotal year in driver recruitment and retention. Walkup and Dismuke agree that this will be another challenging year. However, in adopting advanced technology and a shift in strategy, carriers can see major success this year.

To access the full report, click here.

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