Understanding Why Drivers Job Hop

Turnover is a huge issue in the trucking industry. Turnover rates are between 95-100%, or often even higher for many carriers.  With the cost to replace a driver being upwards of $13,932, retention is vital to your company's success. Understanding why drivers job hop and implementing strategies to combat this are key to a healthy bottom line and a motivated workforce.   

Today, we will discuss the issues at the heart of why drivers job hop, how their problems compare to employees other industries, and some steps you can take to combat job hopping.  

What issues underly job hopping?

It is easy to blame sign-on bonuses and higher wages as the reason most drivers job hop. But the issue is not so cut and dry. The key to understanding why drivers go from carrier to carrier is to understand what drivers actually desire. 

A driver’s first goal is to have their needs and desires met. According to the What Drivers Want Survey by Randall Reilly, drivers want good pay, better home time, respect, and they are concerned about their health. In their mind, if they need to job hop to achieve these goals, so be it. There are numerous underlying issues with carriers that can be causing these needs not to be fulfilled. 

Pay is not the only reason a driver will change carriers, but we would be remiss if we did not discuss it. Pay is often cited as the number one reason for job hopping. But the issue is not just pay itself; it is the expectation of pay. It is not always a clear-cut matter of how much you are offering per mile or how big your sign-on bonus is; it is a matter of how much they actually take home each week. This is affected by detention time, poorly working equipment, and this issue is often compounded by misrepresentation from recruiters on pay averages.  

Recruiters' main concern is filling seats to ensure their company’s needs are met; unfortunately, this can lead to a natural clash with drivers. It has been brought up many times by drivers that recruiters are not as well informed as they should be, and, due to this, drivers feel that they misrepresent what the job has to offer them. This leads to a feeling that the carrier is not living up to the promises made.  

Companies often have an unconscious and unintentional but demonstrated lack of respect for drivers. As seen in the What Drivers Want survey, 57% felt that their companies did not respect their drivers and make them feel like they were part of a team. 45% of drivers noted that they did not think their carrier supported them through issues with shippers, from helping to navigate detention and more. A possibly most impactful 22% said their company did not provide them with well-maintained and working equipment. 

Are drivers alone in feeling dissatisfied?

Drivers are not alone in feeling dissatisfied with their jobs today. Jobcase reports that two out of three workers are considering action to improve their opportunities. According to their report, employees across industries are concerned that their pay is not keeping up with inflation, that they receive inadequate compensation for the type of work they do, employee turnover is making their jobs more difficult, lack of benefits, and more. 

To assist employers, Jobcase asked what qualities employees are looking for in an employer. Across industries, 57% stated competitive pay, 55% said good leadership, 48% indicated healthcare benefits, 47% stated PTO time, 42% highlighted flexible schedules (note that 34% desired consistent schedules), and 35% wanted retirement benefits and more. 

What changes can you make to discourage job hopping?

Ensure that your pay is competitive. As you offer better rates to attract new drivers, make sure to increase your current drivers' rates to exceed those coming on to the team. Nothing makes a person feel more disrespected than making less than the new guy who just walked in your door. Reward loyalty! Offer retention bonuses instead of, or in conjunction, with sign-on bonuses. Remember, pay is one of the most important ways you show you value your employees.  

Make sure that your recruiters have the most up-to-date information and a clear picture of what the position will entail so that they can be more informative and offer the best information to prospective drivers. Another sign of disrespect is for a driver than coming to orientation thinking you will have a specific pay rate or home time only to find out the information is inaccurate. 

Build a positive culture based on respect and inclusion. Every single one of us wants to know that our hard work is seen and appreciated. This is hard to do if you refer to your drivers by a truck number or don't consider their safety. Get to know your drivers, and make sure they are not an afterthought but are part of a team. Being a driver is not easy; they give up so much to keep our economy and your business running smoothly. Let them know that you value their sacrifice.


The best recruitment strategy is a retention strategy. Understanding your drivers' goals will help you better meet their needs and develop a loyal, hard-working team that is less tempted by other companies' sign-on bonuses and higher pay.  

Do you need to meet your recruitment goals? Join LzRecruit Network! Lower your Cost Per Lead and Time to Hire today. We offer 100% direct leads. For more information on the LzRecruit Network, contact us at 800-755-0623.



Debra Watkins covers recruitment and digital marketing for Lionzone. A Nashville native, after graduating from the University of Kentucky, Debra utilized her research and writing skills in the museum and heritage tourism fields, rising to director of two institutions before returning to Nashville in 2020 to join Lionzone.  










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