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Study: Veteran drivers more likely to be dissatisfied with pay

Stay Metrics research also finds that while dissatisfaction is increasing, it remains a relatively “weak trend” in terms of influencing driver turnover rates.

New research by Stay Metrics indicates that veteran truck drivers with five more years of experienced are more dissatisfied with their pay than less-experienced drivers, though the firm also noted that pay is “not a significantly more important predictor” of turnover for experienced drivers.

“The effects of experience on pay dissatisfaction were not large but were statistically significant,” noted Timothy Judge, director of research at Stay Metrics.

Another finding is that experienced drivers are more likely to indicate pay as the most important factor in their decision to join a different motor carrier, he said.

The firm’s study, based on work with 80 motor carriers, came to four conclusions:

  • The importance of compensation is increasing. Recently, experienced drivers are more likely to indicate that they would consider compensation is an important attribute in deciding which motor carrier to diver for.
  • Experienced drivers are less satisfied with their pay, and this link is getting stronger. The more professional experience drivers have, the less likely they are to be satisfied with their pay – and this trend appears to be growing stronger.
  • Yet pay dissatisfaction is still not a primary driver of turnover decisions for more experienced drivers. While the findings above are reason for concern, Judge stressed that the study also found that pay dissatisfaction is not a strong predictor of turnover – and “pay dissatisfaction” not a more significantly predictive of turnover for experienced drivers.
  • The retention advantage of more experienced drivers is eroding. Driver experience continues to correlate with retention – that is, more experienced drivers are less likely to quit – but this advantage is eroding.

Judge added that while experienced drivers are more likely to say they value pay, it isn’t necessarily a bigger factor in their turnover decisions. “It is important to remember that experienced drivers care about more things than pay, and they still have retention rates significantly higher than less experienced employees,” he said.

During the second half of 2017, Stay Metrics noted that the driver market has tightened amid rising freight demand and the impending imposition of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate.

Amid those developments, a number of motor carriers announced significant pay increases and sign-on bonuses in late 2017 with record high payouts, which – along with other factors – have “influenced” changes in driver attitudes towards pay, noted Tim Hindes, CEO of Stay Metrics.

“Drivers know freight rates are going up and pay raises are imminent,” he explained. “While carriers must stay competitive with pay, the new research highlights the opportunity for carriers to increase job satisfaction with recognition and rewards programs, and by showing greater appreciation and respect.”

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