Overworked: What’s Driving Good Drivers Away
Driving for a living can be rewarding, but make no mistake—it can be a tough job too. Whether you’re a local courier or an over-the-road driver, you’re probably noticing that your job is becoming increasingly more demanding. Let’s find out why.
Good drivers are hard to find
It’s no secret that the trucking industry has been suffering from a driver shortage for years now. Lots of socioeconomic factors account for this, but it’s safe to say the industry itself is largely to blame. Because of the often unreasonable demands of the job, driver turnover rates are notoriously high. And as a result, new, young candidates are becoming more and more difficult to recruit. So with experienced drivers leaving and no one coming in to take their place, the simple truth is this: current drivers are being asked to do more than ever before. It’s a self-destructing cycle that needs to be fixed.
Drivers are used to demanding deadlines—it’s what this business is based on. But there is a limit to what can safely be accomplished in a given amount of time. The holiday season, for example, is the busiest time of year for delivery companies. And with online retailers increasingly offering next-day or even same-day delivery, many drivers are being pushed too far. Some companies are even expecting their drivers to deliver hundreds of packages a day. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to figure out just how dangerous this kind of activity can be. And beyond the safety issues, it’s just not right. While it’s important and fair for companies to want to get the most out of their drivers, reasonable limitations have to be set and adhered to—no matter what. No delivery is worth an injury or loss of life.
A little respect
Another major factor contributing to the high turnover rate is the fact that many drivers feel a lack of respect from their employer. Sadly, supervisors and dispatchers often look at their drivers as a piece of equipment, not a human being. Too often, drivers’ personal lives and needs are not factored into schedules. And many drivers feel they simply aren’t treated like a person.
Find your fit
So how do you find the right company? How you find an employer who understands and respects your wants and needs? Ask. Ask what will be expected of you in the short and long term. Ask how long other drivers have been with the company. Ask if they will work with you for a reasonable work/life balance. And ask their drivers what they think. If you don’t feel comfortable at your interview, chances are you won’t be happy once you start driving.
You’re in control
The good news is that drivers are in demand, and really good drivers are increasingly hard to find. You owe it to yourself to find a company that understands this, and more importantly—one that understands you.