Driver Employment Stagnant Even With Pay Hikes

Ever since the pandemic began, the shortage of truck drivers has increased. Many truck drivers who took an early retirement or left the industry due to the fears of contracting the virus, have yet to return. Low driver school enrollments and almost 100,000 operators with failed drug tests (according to Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse data), are just some of the obstacles the fleets are facing.

It’s not just about finding truck drivers, it is also the lack of qualified drivers to meet the need, that is even greater. Lots of companies are using pay raises and other initiatives in an effort to recruit and retain drivers, even as the driver market may be loosening somewhat.

Mansfield, Texas-based BCB transport recently said they raised pay for the second time in 2021, which was the largest raise in the fleet’s more than decade in existence. New hires will see an equivalent of 53 cents per mile, 65 cents per mile for drivers with five years at the company, and 69 cents per mile for drivers with eight years at BCB. The carrier also requires the drivers they hire to have at least 30 months of commercial driving experience, and applicants can’t have worked at more than two fleets in any year, according to Freightwaves.

Another company, Blackhawk Transport told Freightwaves its streak of double-digit annual growth has been “fueled by driver pay increase.” Some of the initiatives Blackhawk Transport has for their drivers are lower deductibles and premiums in its health insurance program, as well as a double-digit percentage for pay raises, with W2 company drivers in certain locations see annual compensation of more than $85,000.

It will be interesting to see in the next 6 to 12 months how truck driver employment fluctuates. If you would like to learn more about the market for driver employment, contact us today!

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