Truck Driver Job Retention Rates

June 12, 2023


Trucking Industry Embraces Job Retention Strategies

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, job retention has become a significant issue across various industries. Workers are demanding better pay, increased flexibility, and improved treatment, reflecting a shift away from the traditional office drone mentality. The trucking and transportation sectors have adapted to these evolving workforce expectations and are successfully implementing retention strategies.

Heartland Express
One notable example is Heartland Express, a trucking company that introduced a pay protection program in 2021 aimed at improving retention rates. As a result, Heartland Express now claims to have the highest pay rates in the industry. Overall, the trucking industry has experienced a positive trend in driver retention, even amid the ongoing market uncertainties. In the past, during the freight market’s peak, companies like Heartland would decline up to 20,000 loads per week. However, in the current climate, this number has decreased significantly, to around 1,000. Heartland’s pay protection program has played a pivotal role in retaining its fleet and drivers. Under this program, drivers are guaranteed to earn between $900 and $1,200 per week, a substantial increase from the average of around $300 they earned before the program’s introduction.

Heartland’s Acquisitions
It’s worth noting that Heartland acquired two other companies, Smith Transport and CFI’s truckload operations, both of which are not eligible for the pay protection program. Nevertheless, these acquisitions have also experienced improved retention rates. Josh Helmich, Vice President of Finance at Heartland, emphasized the importance of financial stability to run such programs successfully. Despite driver pay being 5-10% lower than during the peak, the introduction in 2021 led to a 15% increase.

These developments underscore the impact of fair and competitive wages in incentivizing employees to stay with their employers, a trend that benefits both the workforce and the trucking industry as a whole.


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