At the March 2014 meeting of the Truckload Carriers Association, a synapsis was released of an eight-year analysis of TL driver data, giving an accurate snapshot of who’s behind the wheel. Collected by Sylectus, a business unit of Omnitracs Canada Inc., via its web-based transportation management software (TMS), the data gives insight into not only the demographics of professional truck drivers, but motivations and drive as well.
Generally speaking, drivers tended to report feeling relatively happy with their jobs:
- Driver satisfaction levels remained stable for seven straight seasons.
- Turnover rates continue to fall steadily.
Still, on average, fleets will experience a fleet-wide turnover every 18 to 24 months. In spite of job satisfaction, adequate pay and time at home remain the top concerns for drivers.
The gender divide continues to be significant, with driver population remaining largely male dominated:
- 92% male
- 8% female
While the industry is still dominated by men who are trending older in age, and the average has increased in the past eight years:
- Average age of male drivers went up by two years—from 46 to 48 years old—since 2006.
- The average age of female drivers increased by three years—from 48 to 51 years old—making female drivers one to three years older than their male counterparts.
The tenure of drivers, or the length of time spent in the employ at a particular carrier, has decreased:
- For male drivers, tenure has decreased to less than two years.
- The tenure of female drivers has decreased to about one year and three months.
An interesting observation of the study in the area of decreased tenure was the parallel fluctuation, due in part to husband and wife teams, where one spouse resigns after the other. Not surprisingly, when drivers leave, they do so for the same considerations that affect job satisfaction:
- 51% leave for a better-paying position.
- 41% want to spend more time at home.
Overall, the study found that, in order to keep drivers satisfied, the key factor was to keep them rolling. By customizing jobs to suit driver preferences, keeping equipment updated, and keeping a finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the field, the industry will continue to attract high-quality, hard-working driving professionals to keep America moving forward.