Three-quarters of those who participated in the 2016 TCP Survey are experiencing a driver shortage, with one-quarter of respondents also facing a managerial shortage. Almost one-half (48%) say the driver shortage has a big impact on their business. Although 86% plan to hire this year, many say it will be an ongoing challenge to fill those positions.
“Without drivers, it's hard to meet customer demands, and there are few qualified drivers in our area,” says Eric Clark of Freeman Rock Inc. in Brookings, Ore.
To entice new drivers, many producers are beefing up salary-and-benefits packages and making it easier for drivers to get CDL licenses, up to and including paid training. One producer has increased the driver wage by $4/hour while another has purchased vehicles with automatic transmission to open up the field of applicants. Other strategies include:
- Hiring/signing bonuses
- Employee-referral programs
- Offering part-time positions (which may appeal to retirees with industry skills and knowledge)
- Cross-training employees.
Producers seeking to fill management and other non-driver positions are also looking to college internships to help find and groom future employees. One such program, Concrete Industry Management, incorporates classroom instruction and real-world internships to prepare students for a career in the concrete industry.
The power of advertising
Advertising for help, of course, is another popular option for producers. Companies are taking to the digital realm to get their message across. “Print seems to be dead,” says Jim Spurlino of Spurlino Materials in Middletown, Ohio.
In 2015, Ozinga Bros. in Mokena, Ill., launched its Born to Build campaign, which includes videos promoting jobs in the industry. And in June 2016, the Ready Mixed Concrete Research & Education Foundation released several video and audio clips to help producers recruit potential drivers to their own companies. The downloadable videos and audio files provide an in-depth look at “A Day in the Life” of a professional mixer truck driver.