In the second quarter TCP Business Expectations Survey, 65% of carriers noted having difficulty finding qualified maintenance technicians while 30% indicated they are having problems filling operations staff and fleet manager level positions.
“Fleet owners are telling us that staffing trucks is becoming a challenge,” said Steven Dutro, TCP partner.
Shortages of drivers, technicians, and fleet managers are reinforcing carriers’ concerns about adding capacity at this time. Seventy-percent of larger carriers are having trouble finding qualified technicians. Among smaller carriers, 50% are experiencing the same hiring difficulties.
“Good employees, at all levels, have always been the lifeblood of the industry,” said TCP partner, Richard Mikes. “Now, as we see growth in demand on the horizon, excellent human resource management is critical.”
The cost metrics of carriers are trending up in a period where rates are not still rising fast enough, added Dutro. “ It is no wonder carriers are hesitant to buy new equipment or raise pay to their employees.”
In the 2nd quarter survey, only 50% of carriers reported adequate rates of return on their investments. Additionally, the 1st quarter TCP survey revealed that 40% of carriers have seen their engine-related maintenance costs rise.
As a result, most carriers are insistent that rate increases precede any wage increases. More than ninety percent of larger carriers reported needing to see rates increase before they can raise driver wages.
“As construction and manufacturing jobs expand, the competition to hire and retain qualified drivers has increased,” said Mikes. “Ultimately, better operating margins, that lead to higher driver competition, are essential.”