Monthly Archives: May 2013

Trucking Industry Wage Gap: Time to Re-Evaluate Relationships with Drivers?

Faced with an improving U.S. economy, trucking industry experts suggest ways to address wage gaps and the shortage of new drivers.

As America starts zooming along on the road to recovery, drivers are afraid of being left in the dust.

While the U.S. begins to climb out of an economic hole, trucking industry experts are becoming more concerned about the widening driver wage gap. With people getting back to work, and a rising demand for products to hit the road, the number of drivers and wages still falling behind other industries.

trucking wage gap

Photo via infotruck.blogspot.com

Although concerns over driver shortages have been growing for years, the increased activity from an improving economy is making the driver gap hit trucking industry close to home.


Several facts have caused the trucking industry to worry about the future:
Writer Jon Ross attributes the driver shortfall to two factors: lifestyle and demographics. In an article in American Shipper magazine titled “Short-Changed: Trucking Industry’s Attraction to Future Drivers Lacks Incentives,” Ross suggests a shift in thinking about the role of the driver is necessary for the future health of the trucking industry.

  • The average truck driver today makes around $40,000 a year; wages that lag behind other comparable industries.
  • Experts say this will result in shortages of between 100,000 to 150,000 drivers.
  • Several carriers report driver applications in the first quarter of 2013 are off about 20 percent.
  • Most of these workers are seeking jobs in more profitable industries, like agriculture and construction, where the salaries can be higher.

According to Ross, carriers and shippers, as well as other stakeholders, must re-evaluate their relationship with drivers—things more than just higher wages:

Dave Haessly, director of distribution at Hibbett Sporting Goods, thinks trucking companies won’t be as fast to remobilize capacity once an economic turnaround occurs — either because they can’t find enough drivers or it wouldn’t be in the best financial interest of the management.

The issue of the driver gap turns out to be a two-headed sword. First, there are enough drivers to manage more business; second is preventing (or absorbing) rate hikes associated with better wages. Growing salaries might be easy, but the challenge is to have the compensation that will attract enough new drivers to fill industry needs.

To complicate matters, the newly introduced Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) enforcement program has put additional pressure on carriers to keep up employee rosters.

The “new Normal” of the trucking industry is starting to change the ways of doing business. In the past, asset-based drivers would receive a lion’s share of the business, with only a small percentage going to independent brokers. Now, in some companies, a majority of traffic goes to brokerage drivers.

To reduce the burden of the driver gap, as well as avoid general hikes that could cause rate negotiations to get even more aggressive, Ross points to the possibility of “greater flexibility” in the types of products shippers will deliver. Finding the truckers to transport goods makes it an appropriate time to move “less desirable” freight at rates of about 10 to 15 percent higher. 

Some carriers believe that the worst is not over yet. In light of that attitude, they also believe the driver gap will begin to end, only if shippers and carriers cooperate. Ross discusses this optimism with Max Fuller, chairperson and chief executive officer of US Xpress:

“Everybody will (have to) be more flexible,” Fuller said. “I think there are a lot of solutions to mitigate some of this potential hit, but it’s going to take the shippers and the carriers working together to be able to mitigate a lot of that impact.”

To read the entire article by Ross—“Short-Changed: Trucking Industry’s Attraction to Future Drivers Lacks Incentives”—visit the May 2013 online edition of American Shipper Magazine.

Ten Simple Rules for Driver Recruiting

Most industries have their own best hiring tips, but successful driver recruiting requires something a little different.

There are ten simple rules for finding the safest, most reliable drivers.

driver recruiting

Hiring, especially in the trucking industry, involves employment procedures to make sure your company gets only the safest, most reliable drivers. After all, drivers are what distinguish your company (as well as your hiring skills) to vendors and your other customers.

Whether your need is for long-term or temporary drivers, you have no choice but to make the right decision when hiring. Follow these ten simple hiring tips, and you can immediately improve driver quality:

Recruiting Tip #1: Hire only when you need to

Don’t need drivers? Then don’t hire any! Driver recruiting is effective only when there is a genuine need. First, determine if you absolutely have to have a new driver, or can you handle the workflow with current employees.

Recruiting Tip #2: Promote from within, if you can

After making the decision to hire, driver recruiting should start from within. In many cases, you will have some good possibilities already in your organization. Often, they will be more loyal and productive drivers than outside hires. In addition, hiring from within avoids bringing on an unknown quantity.

Recruiting Tip #3: Make job descriptions clear and easy to understand

All potential candidates must receive an equal opportunity to get the job. Driver recruiting starts with a well-written and complete job description. Clearly describe all necessary functions and minimum qualifications for trucking positions. That way, everyone (both employer and candidate) knows what is expected.

Recruiting Tip #4: Keep driver recruiting honest and respectable

Only accept company-approved applications. Require all job seekers to fill out the necessary forms. Treat all interested parties with professionalism: unsolicited resumes, personal emails and letters, walk-ins, or cold-call telephone queries. However, start the driver recruiting process only after receiving formal applications.

An example of a truck driver log book in the U...

An example of a truck driver log book in the United States. “PTI” is short for “pre-trip inspection”, as the driver is responsible for ensuring that the vehicle is fit to be driven (i.e., no flat tires, loose bolts, or broken parts). “On duty” time includes fueling, repairs, loading and unloading. “Off duty” time incudes meals and rest stops. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recruiting Tip #5: Stay legal and above-board

All applications and forms must be appropriate for the trucking industry. A legally valid application is the best way to protect the interests of the company. At a minimum, they need to comply with the U.S. Department of Transportation regulations about trucking applications, particularly Section 391.21. Examine your company’s forms; review them for inappropriate questions. Make certain they include all necessary legal protections.

Recruiting Tip #6: Know the right questions to ask

Train the employees responsible for driver recruiting in how to conduct thorough interviews. They must know which questions are appropriate, and which ones are simply wrong. For example, the right questions determine highly qualified trucking job candidates, without regard to race, religion, national origin, sex, age, or disability.

Recruiting Tips #7: Do your homework and be prepared

Be familiar with best practices for hiring in the trucking industry. Require background and reference checks for every candidate. It is the only way to know you are hiring the right people. Perform inquiries as outlined by the FMCSRs (Parts 383 and 391).

Recruiting Tip #8: Write it all down

Document everything! Evaluate candidates accurately, using measures for essential job functions based on qualifications. In driver recruiting, always use accurate and up-to-date job descriptions. Follow these hiring tips to provide the best defense against potential charges of discrimination.

Recruiting Tip #9: Have the right people make the call

Only qualified people must assess relevant information and carefully review employment history. They must be trusted to make the right hiring decision. Driver recruitment is serious business; treat it as such. Don’t leave it to the wrong employees. Drivers represent your business on the road, often with minimal direct supervision, so driver recruiting is a crucial decision for your company.

Recruiting Tip #10: Be professional and respect every candidate

Fairness and uniformity are the heart of successful driver recruiting. Unsuccessful applicants thinking they were treated badly (or not treated fairly) may see legal action as their only choice. Address rejected candidates with respect and honesty. The goal of these hiring tips is for every candidate to leave (hired or not) knowing he or she had a fair chance to get the job.

Secrets to Successful Job Posts in LinkedIn Groups

Promoting terrific job opportunities is serious business. And nothing is more serious about business than LinkedIn, the professional networking site.

LinkedIn

With over 200 million members—in 200 countries—LinkedIn has truly become a global phenomenon. More than 2.6 million businesses now have LinkedIn Company pages, making it a valuable resource for employers, employees and job seekers.

LinkedIn Groups can play a significant role in your recruiting strategy as millions of potential employees add their profiles each year.

LinkedIn: A Matter of Trust

The biggest reason for LinkedIn’s popularity is trust; users look to if for accuracy and veracity. In a recent survey of LinkedIn users, 47 percent say they rely on the site for real word of mouth info on brand experiences; 87 percent trust LinkedIn when making critical business decisions.

This reputation for truthfulness makes LinkedIn a natural for recruiters and candidates—both active and passive—to turn to when looking for quality job posts and genuine career advancement.

LinkedIn Types and Relationships

Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Network with Professionals in LinkedIn Groups

One of the most popular LinkedIn features is LinkedIn Groups. Groups are where professionals with similar interests, or in the same industry, can share content, place job posts, establish business contacts, and shape reputations as industry experts.

LinkedIn Groups are ideal for employers to network and recruit exceptional talent. Fostering LinkedIn contacts is an effective way to refer potential employees and establish contact for difficult-to-fill positions.

It is just like face-to-face networking, but considerably easier and with a significantly larger reach.

Several Ways to add Job Posts to LinkedIn Groups

As a member of a group, you have three options:

Even though LinkedIn gives a company different ways to promote job posts, the most effective is the commercial job posting service. Remember, for this method, there are fees involved.  The cost for a job post depends on the geographical location. To find out how much it will be for a single job post, go to the Post a Job page. Then enter the location of the job at the bottom of the page.

Employers can also buy a 30-day listing for a job post, or purchase a discounted 5- or 10-pack of job credits.

The Job Discussions Tab

Group members can share and discuss job posts from outside the LinkedIn job post service in the Jobs Discussions tab of the group. A job post on the job discussions tab is easy; simply copy and paste the short-URL into a post in LinkedIn Groups.  Job seekers can follow the link back to the original job post to apply.

The job post link will refer interested candidates to the company website or other location, such as posts through Ovation Technologies. Ovation helps you broadcast posts to a wide range of social networks (including LinkedIn), as well as job boards, social media and more.

Although there is no charge for posting on a group’s discussion tab, timing is limited. The page automatically removes the job post after 14 days.

Best Practices for Job Posts in LinkedIn Groups

  • If you can, put a LinkedIn share button on every job post. This way, all interested parties—even those who not right for the position, but know someone who is—can pass it on to others in their network.
  • When using the discussions tab for job posts, it is essential to avoid appearing to spam the group. Group managers and administrators monitor all posts and have the ability to move, cancel or reassign job posts they consider spam. Too many unrelated job posts and you risk being dropped from the group.
  • LinkedIn Group members with good reputations, those regularly engaging in the group, will have the most successful job posts. Your best bet for participation is to start by asking and answering relevant questions, post related content and participate in discussions. Your standing in a LinkedIn Group is crucial, and can be vital to having a job post looked on favorably. A good group member will gain exposure to a larger audience of qualified professionals.

Yes, a good reputation on LinkedIn Groups means work. However, a long-term recruitment strategy for your business is certainly worth the effort, especially when you find your next superstar employee!