Early years crucial in truck driver retention: Camo-route survey

Quebec’s newest truck drivers are at the greatest risk of leaving the trucking industry in their first two years on the job — largely because of concerns about poor pay and unpaid waiting time. But those in the career for at least five years are most likely to stick with the job.

The findings come from 1,138 licence holders surveyed by Camo-route, a council that focuses on the trucking industry’s labor issues in Quebec.

“We know that there is a labor shortage,” said Camo-route executive director Chloe St-Armand, when releasing the results during the organization’s annual meeting. “Employers have lowered their hiring criteria. We also see that vacancies for truck drivers have increased by 54% between 2020 and 2021, from 3,410 to 5,235 vacancies. That’s huge.”  

truck moves on a winter road along the forest
(Photo: iStock)

Surveyed licence holders who had left the trucking industry said they would be most likely to resume driving a truck if the work offered hourly pay; a preferred wage of $27 to $30 per hour (with $23 per hour identified as the absolute floor); or improved work environments, a better work-life balance, and better-organized schedules.

Many had left for other driving-related jobs, such are driving a bus, or to pursue other trucking roles such as dispatching.

The need to attract new workers is particularly relevant against a backdrop of an aging workforce.

Forty-nine percent of Quebec’s Class 1 and 3 licence holders were 55 or older in 2020, and the majority are expected to fall into that age bracket by this year.

The job is also dominated by men, with 9,000 Quebec women holding a CDL compared to their 260,000 male counterparts. But the number of women in the job has increased over a five year period, with a 23.7% jump in those who hold a Class 1 licence and 17% increase in those who hold a Class 3.

Seventy-seven percent of the licence holders who responded to the survey were under the age of 55, suggesting they could work in the industry for several years before retiring.

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