The National Ready Mixed Concrete Association’s 2017 Mixer Driver Recruitment and Retention Survey found a brighter picture than the previous two years’ results. While 36% of respondents turned down business due to a lack of drivers in 2016, it was lower than the 51% reported in 2015. The driver vacancy rate steadily dropped about two percentage a year for the past three years, to 4.6% as of December 31, 2016. Nevertheless, 92% reported they would hire mixer drivers in 2017, up from the 72% who planned on hiring drivers in 2016. The most successful and frequently used recruiting tools were internal employee referral, posting jobs on the company’s website, and social media.
The mixer driver pool was about 75,000 in both 2015 and 2016, up 5,000 drivers from 2014. The turnover rate dropped to 28% from 32% in 2015. In 2016, that equates to about 18,600 drivers nationally (quit and released). In 2015, the turnover equated to 23,075 drivers. Of the drivers who were hired, then left the same year, 4,800 did so in 2016, lower by more than 50% from the previous year. Of note, 8% of producers provided a mentor program to new hires in 2016, whereas 49% did in 2015.
In the survey’s three-year history, respondents overwhelmingly noted their biggest hiring challenge was finding drivers with ready mixed concrete experience. 76% of producers will only hire experienced drivers, that is, they do not hire new commercially licensed drivers or drivers under the age of 25. Nevertheless, the industry managed to hire between 20,000-22,000 drivers each year between 2014 and 2016.
Mixer drivers’ average age is 47, the same as the U.S. Department of Transportation’s and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (US BLS) 2016 estimated age of heavy equipment commercial drivers. While mixer driver national tenure dropped to 9.6 years from 10 years the previous two years, the US BLS reports only 29% of American workers have a 10+ year tenure with their companies.
NRMCA’s annual Mixer Driver Recruitment and Retention Survey examines the state of mixer driver employment pool between January 1 and December 31 each year. This year’s response rate reflects 30% of NRMCA’s estimated 2016-75,000 drivers. NRMCA also estimates the total ready mixed concrete industry employment population at approximately 135,000 employees; mixer drivers are 56% of that total. The survey’s response rate per question averaged 92%.