August 12, 2018

Study offers insight into "early driver turnover"

One in three truck drivers leaves within the first three months of employment. New research aims to find out why.

By DC Velocity Staff

As fleet operators grapple with the challenge of stratospheric turnover rates, one driver retention specialist has released a report that offers new insights into the problem. The study, by Stay Metrics, a driver training and retention solution provider, takes a deep dive into a specific aspect of driver "churn": early turnover—defined as a departure within the first year of employment. It's a bigger problem than you might realize: More than 70 percent of driver turnover occurs within the first year of employment, with 35 percent happening in the first three months, the company says.

To gain insight into which drivers are most likely to make an early exit and why, company researchers analyzed data collected from more than 100 trucking companies and 62,000 drivers. Among other factors, they examined driver demographic characteristics, work histories, and attitudes to determine what, if any, attributes the early-leavers shared. Among the key findings:

  • Age doesn't matter. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, millennial drivers are no more likely to leave during the first year of employment than baby boomers are.
  • Occupational experience is a double-edged sword. Experienced drivers (those who have spent more than one year in the industry) are more likely to be early-stage leavers than novices are. But once those drivers pass the one-year mark with a carrier, they are more likely to remain, compared with those with less experience.

  • Leaving doesn't mean dislike. Surprisingly, early-stage leavers have a more positive attitude toward their employers than drivers who have stayed at least one year. The researchers speculated that this is a result of the "honeymoon effect" of job change.

  • Driver attitudes toward their recruiters and dispatchers are a strong signal of early-stage turnover. Drivers expressing high satisfaction with their recruiters have a 22-percent lower turnover rate in the first three months compared with those who said they were dissatisfied. Likewise, high dispatcher satisfaction is associated with a 16-percent lower rate of early turnover.

The report, "Is Early Turnover Damaging the Business? How and What Can We Do to Stop It?," is available for free download on the company's website. To obtain a copy, go to staymetrics.com.

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