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Driver Recruitment and Retention Agencies Release Fall 2023 Truck Driver Survey Results

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By: Converiso Interactive Agency

Posted: Nov 7, 2023

Categories: Blog

The largest truck driver recruitment advertising agency, Conversion Interactive Agency, in partnership with People. Data. Analytics (PDA), an industry leader in employee retention, feedback, and analytics, has recently released their Fall 2023 Driver Survey, providing extensive insights into topics of importance for professional truck drivers in the current market.

The survey delves into various critical topics, including assessing the level of optimism among drivers regarding the state of the freight market. It also explores the pivotal factors that lead drivers to contemplate making a change in their employment, and the preferences they hold when exploring new driving opportunities.

For the fourth consecutive biannual survey, more than half of the surveyed drivers affirm they are not actively seeking new driving opportunities. The survey findings reveal that 33.3% of drivers are currently in search of employment, a figure that remains virtually unchanged from the previous spring survey when 33.8% of drivers expressed a desire for new opportunities. Over the years, as Conversion and PDA have consistently tracked this metric, it has remained remarkably consistent, with one-third of surveyed drivers consistently indicating their intention to explore other truck driving roles.

This statistic is important to carriers in the transportation industry as it signals the challenge they face in attracting additional drivers to their fleets. For truck driver recruiters, the survey results indicate a need to adopt and utilize new tools to pursue and process driver applications using the latest technology.

"Embracing innovation and technology is the key to success in today’s driver market, and drivers have already shown their readiness to respond. By leveraging technology like Conversion's Lead Assist platform with advanced AI automation, we've seen a significant boost in the speed and quality of full applications,” said Kelley Walkup, president and CEO of Conversion Interactive Agency.

Incorporating new tools and technology for recruitment and retention can be a key differentiator among carriers, particularly during a freight recession, but is always a factor. Notable in the survey is a result regarding driver opinion regarding the down economy.

A slight majority, 56.1%, of drivers responded “yes,” they were optimistic about the impending end of the freight recession. These results reflecting a positive sentiment within the industry were surprising to Conversion and PDA, as it suggests drivers may believe the current freight recession, which has persisted for a while, will come to an end in the near future. Historically, freight recessions have typically lasted 18-22 months, the current window for this economic downturn, although concrete data indicating a recovery is yet to materialize.

“If you have the miles drivers need to make a competitive paycheck in this market, tell that story in your recruitment marketing messages,” added Walkup. “In a freight recession, drivers want to know the freight opportunities your carrier has for them so they know the miles they can expect.”

In response to inquiries about their top concerns, drivers have voiced two primary worries: meeting monthly bills (72.4%) and the paramount importance of home and family (59.5%). Additionally, nearly 40% of respondents, reflecting the aging workforce in the industry, have expressed concerns about saving for retirement.

“These results underscore the significance of work-life balance and family-related concerns in the lives of our drivers. The concern over retirement savings aligns with the age demographics observed in the survey,” said Scott Dismuke, VP of Operations at PDA.

When asked what they would do if they were in control of a trucking company and had the opportunity to take a single action to attract and retain drivers, 36.4% expressed the need to increase pay, while 23.3% recommended guaranteeing a minimum pay or mileage/loads. These findings underscore the persistent need for predictable pay, driven by factors such as reduced mileage and inconsistent freight. While immediate pay raises may not be the sole solution, focusing on initiatives that help drivers access more miles remains crucial.

"Approximately a quarter of drivers lean toward providing a guaranteed minimum pay or mileage. It's worth noting that many existing 'guaranteed pay' models are not genuine guarantees; they come with conditions. It's essential to exercise caution when employing the term 'guarantee' as drivers experiencing a 'guarantee' that falls short of expectations are at nearly double the risk of turnover. Effective communication about your driver compensation strategies in your recruitment marketing is paramount. Clear, concise, and transparent messaging plays a critical role in establishing trust with drivers," added Dismuke.

As the economy undergoes ongoing transformations, Walkup and Dismuke agree the task of recruiting and retaining drivers will persist as a formidable challenge for trucking companies. Sustaining driver satisfaction is a complex endeavor, with various individual factors in play. Carriers must possess a firm grip on their data, and technology, attentively monitoring the feedback from their drivers, and, more crucially, identifying the sources of that feedback. Carriers equipped to swiftly recognize and respond to driver concerns will enjoy a competitive edge in this evolving landscape.

To access the full survey report, click here.

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