- Truck driver pay increased across the industry in 2021, according to an American Trucking Associations survey released Wednesday.
- Nine in 10 TL fleets in the survey offered raises, with an average raise of 10.9% for their drivers, according to the 2022 ATA Driver Compensation Study’s executive summary. All LTL fleets surveyed also raised their pay.
- ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said Wednesday during a media call that it’s a competitive market and fleets want to benchmark against the compensation.
TL pay increases outpace growth of LTL pay
The estimated median pay for truckload drivers jumped to nearly $69,700 last year, and compensation also included sign-on and referral bonuses that were upped amid hiring and retention pushes.
Trucking companies have shifted their recruiting tactics to fill driver’s seats. Cowan Systems and Dollar General, for example, have offered sign-on bonuses and other incentives for newly hired drivers.
“The driver shortage, coupled with increased demand for goods in the post-pandemic economy, really drove driver salaries," Costello said in the news release.
The industry’s recruiting tactics come as the ATA has projected a driver shortage to worsen this decade. The trade association has pegged four factors to the worsening shortage: retirements, industry growth, drivers pushed out of the industry, and drivers leaving before retirement.
In contrast to raises for TL and LTL drivers, private fleet drivers earned an estimated median of $85,000 in 2021, which was the same as 2019, the ATA reported.
Meanwhile, over-the-road LTL drivers saw an average increase of 2.6% to $73,000, the survey found. That percent increase was more on par with U.S. businesses in general. Across all sectors, companies increased their salary budgets by 3% in 2021, according to the business and research organization The Conference Board.
But median sign-on bonuses for LTL drivers was $1,500, which was twice as much as the TL median, according to the survey.