- Driver pay, which made significant increases in recent years, showed signs of moderating, Werner Enterprises CEO, Chairman and President Derek Leathers said on a Q1 earnings call this month.
- Driver pay per mile was up 6% for the quarter, according to the company, a subdued increase compared to the wage spikes made during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Q4 2021, the metric had a 22% increase YoY for its Truckload Transportation Services segment.
- “The experienced driver market showed signs of improvement in a historically low unemployment market, enabling us to be more selective, as we hire and retain drivers,” Leathers said.
Truck transportation wages made major gains in recent years, and increases have slowed. But carriers are still making changes to attract and retain drivers.
After some leveling of wages in Q4 and Q1, mileage pay in Q2 of 2023 has risen about 2%, according to The National Transportation Research Institute.
“Mileage wage gains are still tracking at about 5% year over year for drivers at for-hire motor carriers, according to NTI’s National Survey of Driver Wages,” the organization said. “That’s down some from the historically high year over year gains that we saw in 2021 and early 2022, but still strong gains nonetheless from a historical perspective.”
Many carriers have turned their compensation focus to fuel and safety bonuses as well as productivity and performance incentives. “Even though recruiting pressures have eased, bonuses that signal recruiting competition still saw growth year over year and quarter to quarter,” the organization said.
According to NTI, the number of fleets offering:
- Sign-on bonuses remain elevated and are up 9 percentage points from the same quarter last year.
- Referral bonuses were up 2 percentage points year over year.
- Guaranteed pay climbed more than 5 percentage points year over year, with four in 10 fleets now saying they offer a guaranteed weekly pay program.
“While fleets aren’t facing the overwhelming hiring and recruiting needs from 2021 and 2022, turnover is still challenging and fleets are rightly investing in their tenured drivers to reward them for their loyalty and to shift their focus to retention,” NTI President and CEO Leah Shaver said in a statement.