According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the turnover rate for large trucking fleets decreased by 11 percentage points between the second and third quarter of 2018, dropping from 98 to 87 percent. ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello partially attributes this decrease in turnover rate to higher pay, saying “large pay increases fleets have been offering appear to be working and drivers are remaining with their current carrier.”
Following this strategy, Walmart recently upped the incentive for truckers to join and remain in the company with a noteworthy pay increase: in addition to earning one cent more per mile, truckers will receive additional payments for arriving to their destinations. With this increase in place, Walmart truck drivers will earn an average of $87,500 a year, which is nearly double the median tractor-trailer driver salary of $44,500.
The caveat is that truckers who want to work at Walmart must have 30 months of trucking experience in the past three years as well as a clean safety record, meaning this salary will not be applicable to those just entering the field. Even so, typical truck drivers can expect to see a seven to 10 percent wage increase in 2019, according to Gordon Klemp, president and founder of the National Transportation Institute (NTI).
With upwards of 48,000 vacant trucking jobs in the United States, other companies may have to follow Walmart’s example and increase trucker salary to incentivize individuals to join and remain in the industry. A fourth quarter Driver iQ 2018 Recruitment & Retention Survey echoes the sentiment that more money may be necessary, with 25 percent of trucking recruiting executives believing that driver salary will have to approach $100,000 to have a significant impact on the turnover rate.
Moving forward, it will be important to pay attention to what impact an increase in wages will have on trucking, and whether or not it will be successful in alleviating the ongoing issues caused by the high turnover rate and vacancies in the industry.
Michael Leizerman is a truck accident attorney specializing in catastrophic multi-axle collisions. He understands all facets of truck accident litigation; including federal regulations, drug and alcohol testing and hours of service requirements. He has authored a treatise entitled Litigating Truck Accident Cases and often educates other attorneys on trucking laws and regulations. You can learn more about Leizerman & Associates by visiting their website, www.truckaccidents.com.