Early years crucial in truck driver retention: Camo-route survey

Quebec’s newest truck drivers are at the greatest risk of leaving the trucking industry in their first two years on the job — largely because of concerns about poor pay and unpaid waiting time. But those in the career for at least five years are most likely to stick with the job.

The findings come from 1,138 licence holders surveyed by Camo-route, a council that focuses on the trucking industry’s labor issues in Quebec.

“We know that there is a labor shortage,” said Camo-route executive director Chloe St-Armand, when releasing the results during the organization’s annual meeting. “Employers have lowered their hiring criteria. We also see that vacancies for truck drivers have increased by 54% between 2020 and 2021, from 3,410 to 5,235 vacancies. That’s huge.”  

truck moves on a winter road along the forest
(Photo: iStock)

Surveyed licence holders who had left the trucking industry said they would be most likely to resume driving a truck if the work offered hourly pay; a preferred wage of $27 to $30 per hour (with $23 per hour identified as the absolute floor); or improved work environments, a better work-life balance, and better-organized schedules.

Many had left for other driving-related jobs, such are driving a bus, or to pursue other trucking roles such as dispatching.

The need to attract new workers is particularly relevant against a backdrop of an aging workforce.

Forty-nine percent of Quebec’s Class 1 and 3 licence holders were 55 or older in 2020, and the majority are expected to fall into that age bracket by this year.

The job is also dominated by men, with 9,000 Quebec women holding a CDL compared to their 260,000 male counterparts. But the number of women in the job has increased over a five year period, with a 23.7% jump in those who hold a Class 1 licence and 17% increase in those who hold a Class 3.

Seventy-seven percent of the licence holders who responded to the survey were under the age of 55, suggesting they could work in the industry for several years before retiring.

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  • They want to retain drivers? Better pay, benefits and shorter hours would go a long way to that end. Working 60-70 hours a week and getting the same pay and benefits as a 40 hour worker in other industries just doesn’t have the appeal that driving all over the country used to have. I’ve been doing it for almost 50 years and I finally got a job driving Monday through Friday, home every night and weekends off.

  • Quebec truck drivers are paid better than many in ont or the maritime parts of Canada . Many truck drivers that legally can are leaving for other types of work or truck driver jobs in Australia. Farm jobs at $30 hr plus free housing.

  • The trucking companies have done this to themselves . They ignored the cry and concerns of truck divers. Now they are crying and truck drivers are ignoring the companies….we have moved on now to better pastures and won’t be looking back.

  • I have been driving trucks all kinds of it long haul short haul and local since the ’90s and took retirement at age 60 then decided to work part-time relief on long haul assignments till about 2017 then worked again long haul during the epidemic going USA side and still doing it now doing Eastern seaboard for an excellent company and I would say luckily they hired me at age 74 yet in good shape and still enjoy this kind of change on long haul limited to almost only 500 to 1000 miles one way and gone for five days and reset home.
    Of course, with the venue of the E log it made the work easier to manage for time and rest.
    The way of driving is also different with the introduction of Auto Transmission versus the old shifter which is the one I got and prefers to use. The younger generation will make a huge difference in the trade and their family will at least enjoy having a provider at home for the family every time there is off time.