Are younger drivers, especially “Millennials” born in the 1980s, more likely to change jobs early on than middle-age drivers?
The answer, according to new research by Stay Metrics, may not fit with pre-conceived notions.
Stay Metrics is a provider of evidence-based driver feedback, engagement, training, and retention solutions for the transportation industry. Its new study comes as motor carriers are looking for ways to ease the driver shortage, estimated by the American Trucking Associations to be 50,000 with the potential of reaching 174,000 over the next decade.
In March 2018, a bill supported by the ATA was introduced in Congress to help bring younger CDL drivers into the industry. The DRIVE-Safe Act, if passed, would allow drivers between 18 and 21 years to operate across state lines if they meet rigorous training requirements.
One of the perceived drawbacks to carriers for recruiting and developing younger drivers is they turn over at a higher rate. Drivers of all ages turnover at a high rate during the first six months on the job, as ongoing research by Stay Metrics shows nearly 60 percent of all drivers will leave their carriers in the first six months of new employment. Thirty-five percent leave within the first 90 days.
A Stay Metrics research team led by Chief Scientific Officer Timothy Judge, Ph.D., recently analyzed six years of historical data to understand if youth determines early driver turnover.
The average driver age in the study is 45.6 based on a sample size of 103,652 drivers from 140 carriers through Feb. 14, 2018. The overall turnover rate is 59 percent.
The study shows drivers between 21 and 45 years old have a higher turnover rate than the average. Notably, younger drivers in this group (21 to 40) exit at a similar rate as middle-age drivers between 41 and 45.
“Contrary to popular belief, ‘Millennial’ drivers are only slightly more likely than middle-age Gen X drivers to leave their carriers,” said Tim Hindes, chief executive officer of Stay Metrics. “The study shows age is a factor, but we don’t see that impulsive decision making we often associate with youth as a leading cause of early driver turnover.”
The lack of professional experience may be the most significant influence on turnover rates of younger drivers under the age of 25. Drivers in this age bracket may have fewer driving job alternatives. Their turnover rate of 64 percent is lower than all drivers between 26 and 40 years old.
The study shows driver turnover peaks between age 26 and 30 years (69 percent) and decreases by two to three percent in successive age groups in 5-year increments. The turnover rate is the lowest for drivers in the 56 to 60 group at 49 percent.