Per-mile pay for company truck drivers surged in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the same quarter a year ago, according to data from the National Transportation Institute (overdriveonline.com 6/12/18). Some fleets (6.25% — mostly midsize to large carriers), increased driver pay by 7 to 11 cents a mile compared to 2017’s first three months. Another 43.75% of fleets increased driver pay by 4 to 6 cents, and the remaining 50% of carriers raised pay by 1 to 3 cents a mile.
According to NTI President Gordon Klemp, these wage increases reflected efforts by carriers to retain drivers. “These are very aggressive moves,” said Klemp who also believes that fleets are now at the tail end of an 8-month cycle of pay increases. In that time, nearly all of the fleets studied by NTI — 81%— have raised company driver pay. “That’s also very high,” said Klemp. “It tells us this pay cycle is going to end pretty quickly. There aren’t many fleets left who haven’t moved. We’re going to continue to see that last roughly 20% make their moves [soon], and I expect another round of pay moves to kick off sometime this fall.”
Broken out by segment, refrigerated haulers saw the biggest per-mile pay gains — 3.3 cents a mile. Flatbed driver pay climbed 3 cents a mile, and per-mile van pay climbed an average of 2.7 cents.
Sign-on bonus rates also surged in the first quarter, according to NTI data. Sign-on bonuses for van drivers grew to a $7,000 average — a big jump from 2017’s first-quarter $1,500 average. Sign-on bonuses for reefer drivers grew to $3,000 on average, up from 2017’s first-quarter average of $1,000. Flatbed bonuses moved to a $6,000 average, up from $1,500.