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Take This Job And…

There are many depressing numbers I've had to look at this year. Class 8 truck sales, for example, are down 46% year-to-date compared to the same time last year and off an incredible 65% from their pe...

There are many depressing numbers I’ve had to look at this year. Class 8 truck sales, for example, are down 46% year-to-date compared to the same time last year and off an incredible 65% from their peak in 2006. By June of this year, rates were down 5.6% from the end of last year and LTL cross-border rates down more than 21% while company valuations are down by more than 40% on average.

There’s no need to go on. I’m sure you get the picture. This is definitely a year worth forgetting.

But there is one statistic I think we dare not forget. It may be the most depressing statistic of all and will not improve simply because the economy will eventually rebound. This sorry statistic was revealed most recently by our annual Driver Satisfaction Survey but perhaps of even greater concern is that it reflects a clear downward trend. Our nationwide survey of drivers and owner/operators found their satisfaction rate down to a paltry 3.13 out of 5 this year, compared to 3.48 last year and 3.66 for the two years previous to that.

Whereas two years ago the job satisfaction rate could be considered a solid ‘B’, 3.13 is barely a ‘C’.For the first two years of our survey almost two-thirds of drivers taking the survey described themselves to be either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” in their driving jobs. Last year that dropped to slightly more than half being likewise happy with their driving jobs. This year that’s down even further with only 42% being satisfied. And while last year we reported alarm that a full fifth of the people behind the wheel now considered themselves either “unsatisfied” or “very unsatisfied” in their jobs, that level is now up to almost a third reporting dissatisfaction.

Our survey, conducted in partnership with the CTHRC, digs further, asking drivers to rate their satisfaction with 12 different aspects of their job, ranging from pay and recognition to stress and growth opportunities with the company. The depths that these satisfaction levels have fallen to in several areas should be of great concern. Of the 12 different job factors, only one was rated above 3.50 or, put more simply, given a ‘B’ grade. Several important areas slipped into dangerous territory, slipping uncomfortably close to receiving a failing grade. These included the “amount of pay and benefits,” the “amount of job security” and the “amount of job training.” The “quality of supervision received on the job,” and the “amount of independent thought and action exercised on the job,” were also graded low.

And there were a couple of areas graded at 2.5 or less out of 5 this year, which translates into a ‘D’ grade or worse. These included driver satisfaction with the “amount of recognition received for strong performance,” and the “opportunity to grow with the company.”

The economic uncertainty and tumultuousness of the last couple of years have proved to be the perfect storm in which to test our mettle when it comes to driver relations. And at the moment, we are fighting an uphill battle.

-Lou Smyrlis can be reached by phone at (416) 510-6881 or by e-mail at

You can also follow him on Twitter at

Truck News

Truck News

Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry.
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