Driver retention is the biggest challenge facing transport operators, according the survey of SMEs by Close Brothers. It found that businesses experienced 20 per cent driver turnover on average last year.
More than one third (36 per cent) said that the main reasons for drivers moving on were higher salaries and improved benefits. A further 15 per cent said driver churn was due to a desire for a better work-life balance.
The Close Brothers Business Barometer also found that 31 per cent of transport companies found it difficult to retain drivers following training, and 25 per cent found it difficult to hire suitably qualified people for key roles.
Many transport firms said they have put a number of measures in place to prevent their best drivers from leaving. 33 per cent offer drivers a competitive benefits package which incorporate bonuses, healthcare and annual pay raises, and over a quarter create personal development plans and agree a definitive career plan for their driver (28 per cent and 27 per cent respectively).
John Fawcett, managing director of the Transport Division at Close Brothers Asset Finance said: “It’s clear from both the research and speaking to our customers that transport firms are facing a number of challenges that are impacting on their ability to attract and retain drivers.
“One of the main reasons for drivers moving jobs in the past 12 months was because of a better salary and benefits offered elsewhere. However, while remuneration is obviously important, recent studies show that the majority of drivers are happiest in a workplace that meets their needs and considers their well-being in terms of flexible working, company culture, corporate reputation and career progression. And it’s no different in the transport sector.”