Truck drivers are leaving large truckload carriers for other employers at a faster pace, but smaller competitors are keeping more drivers, a survey shows.
The driver turnover rate at large carriers hit 79 percent, the highest rate since the second quarter of 2008, according to the American Trucking Associations.
The annual turnover rate means 79 percent of the truck drivers employed by a large truckload carrier will leave within one year and need to be replaced.
That’s only four percentage points above the 75 percent rate reported for the first quarter but a significant increase from the 39 percent turnover rate in the first quarter of 2010.
ATA released the turnover rate in its quarterly Trucking Activity Report.
The year-over-year leap indicates the battle for truck drivers among truckload carriers is heating up, though not as quickly as it did last fall and winter.
“Even though the increase (from the first quarter) was small, we still believe the market for quality drivers is getting extremely tight and fleets are aggressively recruiting to fill their openings,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said.
As driver pay and benefits increase, truckers tend to jump from carrier to carrier. In addition, carriers tend to focus recruitment efforts on experienced drivers.
Smaller truckload carriers saw their turnover rate drop from 50 percent to 47 percent, possibly indicating a driver preference for regional trucking firms.
The driver turnover rate at less-than-truckload carriers was only 6 percent.
Contact William B. Cassidy at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wbcassidy_joc