Trucking companies are adopting three principal strategies in trying to recruit and keep drivers, Gordon Klemp, president of the National Transportation Institute, told the GATS Fleet Forum on Thursday, Aug. 25. NTI publishes the National Survey of Driver Wages, which tracks wage and benefit trends at leading carriers nationwide.
The first strategy is simple and obvious, Klemp says. Base pay for drivers continues to rise – even on top of hefty increases that already have taken place over the past couple of years.
Second, fleets are pursuing driver-friendly practices in pay and working conditions. For example, some carriers are offering daily pay or pay for practical miles rather than household goods miles, Klemp says. Other carriers are looking at variable work schedules, such as four days on, four days off or 21 days out, 21 days home.
Third, there’s a trend toward targeted pay increases depending on geography, Klemp says. As an example, Schneider National recently offered a sign-on bonus that applied only to eastern Pennsylvania. Last year, Heartland Express introduced its “Green Miles” program, paying a 7 cent bonus for miles run in the Northeast. And J.B. Hunt has a nationwide pay scale, but uses two different scales in 14 states because of special needs.