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Fleets are offering fewer drivers wage increases in the first quarter of 2019 when compared to last year but the increases that are being instituted are substantial, according to the latest Quarterly National Survey of Driver Wages from the National Transportation Institute.
As the trucking industry boomed in the past few years, many fleets offered pay increases, sometimes multiple increases in the same year. Across the industry mileage pay rates increased and hit uncharted levels, according to NT, with rates as high as 65 cents per mile for solo drivers.
Despite higher wages across the board, fleets still found it difficult to find and retain qualified drivers.
“Our subscribers tell us that, while freight has dropped and driver churn (turnover) has increased, the need to monitor driver pay attributes that produce desired outcomes remains especially high. Some of these outcomes include referrals, safe, productive driving and fair compensation for down time,” said Leah Shaver, NTI Chief Operating Officer. “We’re in a market with near full employment, and driver expectations are raised after a record year in 2018. In these conditions, the driver situation changes rapidly.”
The quarterly survey also found that while sign-on bonuses remain an important recruiting tool for fleets, some fleets were beginning to take the viewpoint that guaranteed pay and transition bonuses were a better reflection of a driver’s value.
“Our observation is that in Q1 the size of signing bonuses continues to decrease, although the number of carriers offering bonuses continues to remain fairly high,” said Gordon Klemp, NTI chief executive officer and founder. “At the same time, carriers that are utilizing some form of guaranteed pay are seeing a positive impact on turnover and hiring.”
The National Survey of Driver Wages is a survey of recruiting, retention, and compensation executives at dry van, temperature-controlled, flatbed and tanker fleets nationwide. It monitors key industry information on mileage rates, accessorial pay, bonuses, benefits and corporate policies for both drivers and owner operators at for-hire carriers. The full 2019 Q1 National Survey of Driver Wages and its findings are available with a subscription through DriverWages.com.