- Marten Transport increased its driver workforce by 15%, or 422 drivers, over the past year, according to the company’s Q2 earnings statement.
- In the last quarter alone, the carrier added 123 drivers, the result of a strategy to improve drivers’ work-life balance and job conditions, Executive Chairman Randy Marten said in a statement.
- "Our approach to overcoming the driver shortage is a heightened emphasis on structurally improving our drivers’ jobs and work-life balance by collaborating with our customers, while also increasing our driver compensation," Marten said.
To help recruit and retain drivers, the carrier has also increased its compensation this year, raising its guaranteed annual starting salary for drivers from $65,000 to $70,000, according to the company’s website. The result has been an uptick in workforce size and an improved company culture, Marten said.
“Our ability to capitalize on the high level of demand we continue to see and apply our culture of continuous operating enhancements within our unique business model has largely contributed to our performance improvements,” he said.
Marten’s strategy comes as leading industry voices have noted significant driver constraints.
Recent forecasts from the American Trucking Associations have stressed these challenges; the group published projections last fall that if changes aren’t made, the industry will face a 160,000 driver shortfall by 2030.
Driver pay has become a common tactic for companies looking to attract and retain drivers. In April, Walmart announced that it would increase long-haul driver pay up to $110,000 in the first year. The retailer also launched a three-month training program for workers to earn a CDL.
In a similar salary range, Marten’s top drivers earn over $100,000 per year, according to the company’s website.
These salaries are more than double the Bureau of Labor Statistics' most recently listed median pay for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, which was $48,310 as of May 2021.
Marten has also increased its over-the-road driver compensation, where a weekly minimum of $1,150 in early 2020 is now at $1,400, according to the company’s website. And a $1,000 hiring bonus has remained.
“We have heightened and will continue to heighten our emphasis on structurally improving our drivers’ jobs and work-life balance by collaborating with our customers,” Marten wrote in February in the company’s 2021 annual report.
In the report, Marten said freight demand outstripped labor supply in a “driver shortage now growing ominously acute. No carrier is immune.”