If a truckload carrier has 100 drivers and a 90 percent annual turnover rate, does that mean only 10 of those drivers are still with the company at the end of the year? Not necessarily. The carrier could keep 70 of the original drivers and replace 30 other truckers three times — not an unlikely scenario, Bob Costello says.
“If a carrier can keep a driver for 90 days, the turnover rate for drivers who stay past that point just plummets,” the chief economist of the American Trucking Associations said. “If you keep them for three months, you can keep them a lot longer.”
Much of the truckload carrier driver churn occurs among recent hires. Trucking executives and recruiters say a fair number of drivers jump readily from company to company, especially when a new carrier offers them more miles, more money or some other incentive. “If you’ve got a good driving record, and you’re not happy where you are, you know you can get a job somewhere else,” Costello said.
The ATA surveys truckload companies each quarter, asking how many drivers were employed at the beginning of the quarter and at the end. “We calculate the average and then take the number of removals, people who quit or were fired, and divide that number by the average.” The result is the driver turnover rate, he said.
The 89 percent rate for the third quarter is an industry average, which means some large truckload carriers had much higher and others much lower driver turnover.