To support its membership, the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association recently completed a landmark, large scale project aimed at meeting the ready mixed concrete industry’s challenges in hiring and retaining mixer truck drivers. The result, the release of the first annual NRMCA Mixer Driver Recruitment and Retention Survey, identifies key industry trends as well as provides insight for possible areas of change to facilitate a high quality, stable mixer driver workforce.

The survey examined the state of the mixer driver employment pool from January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014. It is the first comprehensive study of this commercially licensed driver segment. The resulting data reflects 27% of the mixer driver pool or 19,024 of NRMCA’s estimated 2014 total of 70,000 drivers. NRMCA also estimates the total industry population at approximately 125,000 employees; mixer drivers are estimated to be 56% of that total. The 21-question survey’s response rate was 97%.

The study reports on the mixer driver employment pool from a staffing level, its retention rate, average age, tenure rate and internal job mobility. It then looks at turnover, analyzing the total turnover rate, voluntary turnover rate, involuntary turnover rate, layoff turnover rate and reasons for termination as well as reasons mixer drivers quit. Finally, the study analyzes the 2014 hiring rate, vacancy rate, hiring trends and challenges, and the projected 2015 hire.

The sector was younger and more stable than assumed. The pool’s average age in 2014 was 44.7 years, with a median of 45 years old. A U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ and U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2013 study estimated the average age of a commercial truck driver at 46.5 years. Also, the mixer driver’s national tenure rate was calculated at 10 years, with a median of nine years. In comparison, the American Trucking Associations reported the 2014 turnover rate for small long-haul truck fleets was 94% in 2014 and higher for large fleets. The national mixer driver total turnover rate was 15%, with two-thirds quitting and one-third company-released.

The national vacancy rate for mixer drivers was 9% as of December 31, 2014, with an estimated 2014 average hiring of 39.8 mixer drivers per company, with a median of 11.5 mixer drivers per company. Respondents noted their biggest challenge was finding qualified, commercially licensed drivers with ready mixed concrete industry experience. Seventy five percent reported their most successful recruitment method was employee referral. Only 1% reported they would not hire mixer drivers in 2015, though the estimated increase in the mixer driver pool, based on respondents’ projected 2015 hiring numbers, would just be 1.16%.

In an effort to assist the industry with meeting recruitment and onboarding needs, the RMC Research & Education Foundation has co-funded with NRMCA the development of resources, including video, commercial and radio ads that will help draw new drivers to the industry and also help them to transition to their new role as professional ready mixed concrete truck drivers. These resources will be released in 2016.

The survey’s Executive Summary and NRMCA members’ unabridged report are available on NRMCA’s Web site.