Truck driving, especially long-haul transportation, is not for everyone.
“It’s not a 9-to-5 job. There is a definite lifestyle, and you have to be prepared for that,” said Rita Germak-Swisher, safety and compliance director for Jagtrux Inc., an over-the-road trucking firm in East Donegal Township.
As is the case in nearly all industries where turnover is high, many enter and leave trucking jobs because of unmet expectations. The industry reports driver turnover of 18 to 24 months.
“In the last couple of years, the turnover rate has been a little higher,” Germak-Swisher said. “Older drivers are retiring, and younger drivers are coming in.”
But younger drivers don’t always gravitate to long-haul jobs.
“They want to be home every day, and they want to have a life. Their significant others don’t want to be home alone,” Germak-Swisher said.
She gets that, she said. When she goes to trucking schools, she said, she is honest about the job and the lifestyle that comes with it.
It’s ultimately the upfront communication before hiring and regular engagement with Jagtrux’s 35 drivers that might curb the long-term turnover rate, she said.
“We try to treat employees like they are part of our family,” she said. “I know the drivers, their spouses and kids. You just engage them on a daily basis. We want them to feel like they are part of something.”
There were 4.44 million job separations in the U.S. in August, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS. Of that, 2.47 million people quit their jobs, the lowest since April and down from 2.55 million in July.