Truckers are getting big pay hikes, but there's still a shortage of drivers

May 29, 2021
Chris Isidore, CNN Business

Massive increases in online ordering during the pandemic have sent demand for delivery truck drivers through the roof. That's increased competition for those willing to be long-haul truckers, forcing those trucking companies to hike pay. But that hasn't persuaded enough people to take the long-distance driving jobs that the industry needs to fill.

Huge turnover
The pay hikes are instead prompting many drivers to bounce from company to company.
The average annual turnover rate for drivers is about 95% for truckload carriers, the segment of the industry that moves trailer-size shipments long distances. Truckload carriers are experiencing the industry's most severe driver shortages. Drivers appreciate the increased pay, but they're keeping an eye on what's being offered elsewhere, said Daniel Walton, a 47-year-old truck driver at Roehl Transport, a Wisconsin-based trucking company with 2,300 drivers, "Everybody loves getting more money," said Walton. "You hear numbers thrown at you, there is a temptation to go elsewhere." Recently he had one friend go to Walmart (WMT), another to FedEx (FDX), which have more regular routes and time at home for their drivers.

The opposite effect
Ironically, rising pay itself may be exacerbating the shortages it's designed to solve. Many drivers are using the larger paychecks to cut down on their driving. "Drivers want to be home more. They have expressed that to us," said Tim Norlin, vice president of driver employment at Roehl. Walton said he knows drivers who are using the increased pay to cut back their time on the road."You see guys with young children, they were out there working," he said. "This affords them the opportunity to be home a little more with their children."

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