Driver shortage persists but wage increases are tepid, carrier survey finds
Sluggish economy, modest freight demand means carriers unable to significantly increase driver wages, says Transport Capital Partners.
Concerns that a shortage of qualified truck drivers would lead to a significant increase in driver wages and, by extension, a substantial rise in freight rates might be overblown.
A second-quarter survey of carrier executives by Chattanooga, Tenn.-based consultancy Transport Capital Partners LLC found that while 93 percent of respondents expect driver wages to rise over the next 12 months, 71 percent expect the increases to be 5 percent or less. About 20 percent expect driver wages to climb between 6 and 10 percent. About 7 percent expect wages to remain unchanged, while the remaining 2 percent see compensation climbing above 10 percent by this time next year.
In the second quarter of 2011, about 65 percent expected a 1- to 5-percent rise in driver wages by the same period in 2012. About 22 percent expected a 6- to 10-percent hike by this time, according to the survey.
The numbers indicate that modest freight demand in a sluggish economy is giving shippers the leverage to hold the line on carrier rate increases, according to Lana R. Batts, a long-time trucking executive and a partner in TCP. As a result, carriers struggling to maintain profitable growth can't increase driver wages as much as they might like, even though they continue to confront a driver shortage that is growing more acute, she said.
Batts said relatively small increases in driver compensation is likely to accelerate driver turnover rates and deter new entrants from obtaining a commercial driver's license and getting behind the wheel. Another issue, she said, is that the recent uptick in U.S. residential construction activity is luring back labor that had left construction for trucking in the wake of the real-estate bust that began in 2007.
About 40 percent of the survey's respondents had annual revenue of more than $51 million.More articles by Mark B. Solomon
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. If you're not already logged in, you will be asked to log in or register.
Resources Mentioned In This Article
- YRC's unionized workers face another moment of truth
- Lighter weight to become heavier burden for shippers in FedEx, UPS annual rate programs
- New drug track-and-trace law "defines 3PLs place in the supply chain," trade group says
- Freight interests back legislation to boost fuel taxes 15 percent over three years
- Nearly 2,000 brokers lose operating licenses following warning notice on higher surety bond limits
Feedback: What did you think of this article? We'd like to hear from you. DC VELOCITY is committed to accuracy and clarity in the delivery of important and useful logistics and supply chain news and information. If you find anything in DC VELOCITY you feel is inaccurate or warrants further explanation, please ?Subject=Feedback - : Driver shortage persists but wage increases are tepid, carrier survey finds">contact Editorial Director Peter Bradley. All comments are eligible for publication in the letters section of DC VELOCITY magazine. Please include you name and the name of the company or organization your work for.