Indiana Carriers Adopting Creative Hiring Solutions

About 14,000 registered trucking companies of Indiana face a serious recruiting challenge due to a nationwide shortage of qualified drivers. To meet the demand for drivers, these companies are now finding creative ways to hire good people. They are looking at the option to hire veterans, moving nearer to their workforce, and offering perks such as opening training facilities and more days off.

Lack of Drivers

Indiana's trucking companies ranked driver shortage as their second most important concern last year, just behind the economy. The vice president of the Indiana Motor Truck Association, Barb Hunt, says that the situation in the state is as bad as it is any other part of the country.

Industry experts believe that the shortage is occurring due to a number of factors, such as tougher federal regulations, sluggish economic growth, higher costs of training, low pay compared to the difficulties of the profession, aging workforce, and diminishing interest from younger workers.

Driver turnover rates at many of the trucking companies are as high as 100 percent. It effectively means that the company is turning over half its fleet two times a year. However, some of the carriers are coming up with unique hiring solutions.

Perfect Solution

Hunt said: "Many of our members in Indiana are actively recruiting veterans. The challenges these men and women have faced for this country have prepared them for challenges that are in the trucking industry." How can there be a shortage of eligible employees when so many veterans, and Americans for that matter, are having trouble finding work?

At Dot Foods, a starting driver receives an annual salary of $50,000, while experienced drivers on average can earn about $65,000. The benefits offered by Dot include bonus programs, health insurance, and a matching 401k. The company makes an effort to ensure that the drivers go home two days a week.

The company's Cambridge City operation started a drop lot in Indianapolis in July. Sam Andrews, transportation manager at Dot Foods, says: "It helps us from a business standpoint because we do a lot of business in Indianapolis, and it gives us the opportunity to draw from a larger population."

Quality of Life

Drivers such as Terry Peterson are attracted by the idea of additional home time. He said: "I probably would not have pursued Dot had they not moved to Indianapolis. I can get to my places without having to go to Cambridge City. When I'm done with my route, I park my truck in Indianapolis and I'm 20 minutes from home. But the main thing is, I can be home on a regular basis."

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