Retention is the issue, not recruiting: An ‘alert’ from trucker Jeff Clark

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Over on the website of Allen and Donna Smith’s new North American Trucking Alerts community site, I came across a piece from Jeff Clark that expands in some ways on prior writing the operator and current Freightliner Team Run Smart contributor has done on the so-called “driver shortage.” I’ve mentioned some of that prior writing recently — recall this story about long-term driver-compensation dynamics from several weeks back and the reference to Clark’s “Economist and recruiter ’round the bar” set piece from 2013.

Find more about the North American Trucking Alerts’ free year-long membership offer for CDL drivers during the month of December below.Find more about the North American Trucking Alerts’ free year-long membership offer for CDL drivers during the month of December below.

With driver training in the news, Clark took the opportunity to share a personal story, one that shines light on what he sees as the real problem that continues to be called a “driver shortage.”

It’s related to pay, but the inability to find new people is not the issue. “Throughout the years the carriers have proclaimed that we have failed to recruit enough qualified drivers into the industry,” Clark writes. “I don’t see it that way. I think that they recruit plenty of qualified drivers. The problem is that we don’t keep them.”

Of the group of drivers Clark started with at the carrier he first signed on with for his 1980s maiden trucking voyage, by the time he was 18 months into his employment Clark was virtually the only one left and, what’s more, he was among the most senior drivers with the company, period. “We had a seniority board (with no benefits) on the wall of the drivers’ room,” he writes. “On that board, with almost 200 drivers, I was in the top 10 for seniority. You noticed a lot of things waiting up to 30 hours for an oil change, for no money.”

It’s worth a read; find the full piece at this link.

And as for the new North American Trucking Alerts community, for professional drivers the Smiths and partners today announced that through December a one-year membership in the community will be entirely free (typically it’s $15 for CDL holders). The membership comes with the ability to participate in discussions on the NATA forum and discounts from sponsoring organizations, among others.

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Members are encouraged to take the North American Trucking Alerts pledge, which you can read more about via the NATA membership site here.