Survey Points to Carriers Hiring Young Drivers

CHATTANOOGA, TN. — Over 80 percent of carriers surveyed in Transport Capital Partners (TCP) Fourth Quarter 2012 Business Expectations said they are willing to throw their support behind younger drivers entering the industry. Provided, of course, that they are properly trained.

“Most carriers know that turnover levels have doubled since the recession, which has continued to negatively impact our industry,” said Richard Mikes, TCP Partner. “Past surveys have indicated that pay must go up to significantly higher levels over the long-term. Once construction and manufacturing begin to ramp up, many drivers will leave the wheel for more family-friendly time at home,” he explained.

“Driver attraction and retention will continue to be an important issue for carriers.”

Carriers over $25 million were slightly more supportive than smaller carriers of allowing younger, properly trained drivers, TCP noted (86% vs 77%, respectively).

Of the carriers surveyed, only 30 percent currently hire entry-level drivers, with larger carriers more keen on spending the time, money and effort to develop their skills than smaller carriers.

“While only a third of the carriers currently use entry-level drivers, in the future, fifty-one percent of the carriers expect to be utilizing inexperienced, entry-level drivers and training them,” TCP said.

“Investment in effective training programs will be essential to our industry,” said Steven Dutro, TCP Partner. “Those who are successful in properly training and developing loyalty will gain a real competitive advantage. Developing the proper programs and corporate culture should be considered a critical investment in the future.”

Pay will have to be increased, too, something that the majority of carriers (66 percent) agreed upon, although that number is down slightly from last TCP’s Q2 survey. Nearly 80 percent of carriers surveyed said that they expect pay to increase in 2013.

According to Mikes, current operating margins allow for little room to raise pay, but “everyone in the supply chain needs to recognize the critical need to pay a little more to keep quality drivers moving the freight.”

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