Hirschbach Motor Lines President Brad Pinchuk says the carrier’s driver hiring costs have spiked by about 2.5 times since the onset of the pandemic.
“We're having to work harder to keep our trucks filled," Pinchuk said during a carrier perspective session on Sept. 14 at FTR’s annual conference. "We're keeping them full, but we're having to work a lot harder. We're having to spend a lot more money."
Retaining workers across the industry has become costlier. Driver wages per mile jumped 10.8% from 2020 to 2021, increasing from 56.6 cents to 62.7 cents, according to the American Transportation Research Institute’s 2022 cost of trucking report.
Increases in hiring costs include everything from advertising job posts to paying recruiters and training new employees, Pinchuk said.
Bill Kretsinger, CEO, chairman and chief customer officer of American Central Transport, agreed during the panel that hiring and onboarding costs are significantly increasing. He also noted drivers are expecting more from their employers.
Drivers today want more time off, as well as career flexibility, Kretsinger said. A driver may work for six months on local delivery routes, and then be interested in switching to over-the-road driving.
While Kretsinger said his company has historically had strong retention rates, the environment is shifting for new hires.
“They’re just so picky,” he said. “It just seems like it's getting tougher to ... retain them long term.”