Theodora Pecoroni | FleetOwner
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Some insight into what motivates drivers

Dec. 28, 2021
Understanding what motivates different types of drivers can help carriers tailor their messages to reach the type of drivers they are trying to attract.

Motivation is an interesting thing. In part, it determines why we choose the jobs we do. When we talk about truck drivers, I think too often we lump all drivers together, forgetting that there are distinctions between company drivers and owner-operators. We sure do that when it comes to the driver shortage. That's why I was interested to delve into the American Transportation Research Institute’s (ATRI) Owner-Operators/Independent Contractors In The Supply Chain report.

ATRI set out to look at the motivating factors that draw people to become company drivers and those that lead others to become owner-operators/independent contractors. For both groups, the survey used the same eight motivating factors and asked the respondents to rate them on a scale ranging from extremely important to not at all important.

The survey showed that, for company drivers, the top three motivating factors were job security/stability, income and health care/retirement savings. According to the report, “Nearly 90% of company drivers rated job security/stability as extremely important or important. The least important motivating factors for company drivers were choice of routes/length of haul, independence/ability to set hours, and business/job growth.”

The survey also found that for owner-operators/independent contractors the top motivating factors were independence/ability to set hours, schedule flexibility and choice of routes/length of haul. Income was fourth on their list.

What I found interesting about the survey results was the difference in what motivates the different types of drivers. I wonder how many fleets are aware of these differences and use them to their advantage in their driver recruiting and retention efforts. The ATRI report also contains information on how satisfied (or dissatisfied) drivers are with the eight motivating factors—business/job growth, choices of routes/length of haul, health care/retirement security, income, independence/ability to set hours, job security/stability, pace of work, and schedule/flexibility. It also segments out responses from women drivers.

While it is likely that no one thing will solve the driver shortage problem, understanding what motivates different types of drivers can help you tailor your messages to do a better job of reaching the type of drivers you are trying to attract.

Patrick Gaskins, SVP of Corcentric Fleet Solutions, oversees both sales and operations for the company's fleet offerings. Gaskins joined the company in 2010, bringing more than 30 years of experience as a financial services professional in the transportation industry. He leads a team that works with a supply base of more than 160 manufacturers to help the country’s largest fleets manage all aspects of their fleet operations and fleet-related spend.

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