- Sufficient pay is the top factor in driver retention for men and women, as measured by Tenstreet's and Stay Metrics' latest Stay Index, compiled with data from the second half of 2020. The index analyzes driver dissatisfaction and pain points, as well as what factors influence drivers' commitments to a carrier.
- Several pay-related issues ranked in the top 10 for either men and women, such as fair pay for the amount of work, fair pay for level of experience and fair pay compared to other carriers.
- Women valued work-life balance as an important retention factor more than men. Work-life balance and enough time for personal life ranked third and fourth, respectively, for women, but ranked seventh and 10th for men. The index includes responses from 500 women and 8,300 men.
Tenstreet described pay as "the most basic need" in the driver-carrier relationship, and several other research firms in the transport industry have revealed similar trends.
A WorkHound survey of 12,700 drivers last year found pay was the most critical factor to keep drivers happy.
Driver compensation ranked second on the American Transportation Research Institute's critical issues in the trucking industry report, the latest edition released in October 2020. Compensation ranks No. 1 among company drivers and No. 3 among owner-operators and independent contractors, according to ATRI, highlighting the importance of fair pay for transport firms with payrolled drivers.
Driver satisfaction and retention became more important during the pandemic, when some drivers opted to stay home yet freight demand accelerated, amplifying the effects of the driver shortage.
"Many drivers believe the shortage and compensation are inextricably linked, and that the only solution to recruiting and retaining drivers is to increase pay or modify compensation models," ATRI's report stated.
The pay raises can tally up to significant expenses for transport firms, given that driver wages are typically the largest percentage of operational costs. Marten Transport spent $17.7 million on additional pay for company drivers last year. Werner Enterprises anticipates driver pay raises in its TL segment will reach up to $18 million for 2021.
Tenstreet's data indicates that raising wages can help fleets recruit and retain men and women, given the important of pay to both genders.
Top driver retention factors
|1||Enough pay/settlement||Enough pay/settlement|
|2||People I work with keep their promises||Pay is fair for the amount of work|
|3||Happy with work-life balance||People I work with keep their promises|
|4||Work hours leave enough time for person life||Pay is fair compared to other carriers|
|5||Pay is fair for the amount of work||Pay is fair for level of experience|
Source: Tenstreet and Stay Metrics Stay Index
Various estimates calculate women make up 2% to 10% of the current truck driving workforce. Recruiting more women could go a long way to easing the driver shortage, but fleets may have to tailor their recruitment strategies and workforce practices to appeal to what women want.
"The trucking industry is dominated by men. As such, the opinions and voices of women may be harder to hear and recognize," Tenstreet stated on its blog. That's why it compiles its index separately for men and women, "to identify issues that may be more important to either gender."
Tenstreet recommends fleets implement practices that address work-life balance, such as holiday pay and honoring home-time requests. Lawmakers also seek to bring more women into the trucking workforce. They introduced a bill to create an advisory board at the FMCSA. The board would report on education, training, outreach and other factors to help recruit and retain women in the industry.