CHATTANOOGA, TN — Truck driver wages are expected to increase in small installments throughout the next twelve months, according to Transport Capital Partners’ (TCP) Business Expectations Survey.
The reason for the increase? Carriers are concerned about the current shortage of qualified drivers, the survey shows.
“Carriers are concerned about unseated trucks and the lack of applicants for a variety of reasons,” explained Lana Batts, a TCP partner.
One of those reasons, Batts says, is that people on extended long-term un-employment don’t look for a job until the benefits run out.
“Additionally, the increase in construction is resulting in former and current drivers moving back to that industry,” Batts adds.
The Q2 survey shows that 93 percent of carriers expect to increase wages, but 71 percent anticipate the raise to be less than five percent. However, that might not be enough.
According to Batts, the less-than-five-percent pay increase is not enough to attract new drivers to trucking as a career. And it may even worsen driver turnover.
“[The pay raise] is not enough to overcome the basic negatives of the job for a newcomer,” she explains. “But it is enough for a guy who’s in the industry to go from one carrier to another.”
Saving those extra dollars: Fuel Economy
“Diesel pricing is still high and fuel surcharges are viewed as inadequate by the industry,” says Richard Mikes, a TCP partner.
To overcome inadequate fuel surcharges, carriers are trying to improve fuel economy by reducing individual speed limits, training drivers to improve MPG, and purchasing improved aerodynamics, the survey shows.
Carriers are also looking at fuel options other than diesel, Mike says.
“Diesel may not be the fuel of the future as truck makers and carriers see the recently found century-plus reserves of natural gas as an opportunity,” he says.