Experienced-candidate dearth remains top mixer driver recruiting hitch

Sources: National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Silver Spring, Md.; CP staff

Ready mixed producers participating in the 2016 Mixer Driver Recruitment and Retention Survey list availability of commercially-licensed drivers with concrete delivery experience as their top hiring challenge; just over half report turning down business due to a lack of qualified staff to operate their fleets.

NRMCA’s 31-question survey of January–December 2015 conditions represents 28 percent of an estimated 75,000 mixer driver pool. Expanded from prior versions, the survey continues to track staffing and tenure levels; retention plus voluntary, involuntary and layoff turnover rates; and, reasons behind driver termination or departure. It also measures 2015 hiring and vacancy rates, hiring trends and challenges, and projected 2016 driver ranks.

Respondents to this and last year’s surveys overwhelmingly noted their biggest hiring challenge was finding qualified, commercially-licensed drivers with ready mixed concrete delivery experience. Seventy-eight percent of producers note such criteria in the current survey. In both survey years, the industry hired almost 22,000 of the estimated 70,000 and 75,000 in the 2014 and 2015 driver pools.

The national mixer driver vacancy rate was 6.7 percent at the end of 2015, down 9 percent from 2014. In 2015, survey respondents hired an average of 45 mixer drivers, with a median of 15 mixer drivers, an increase over the prior year; nearly 10 percent reported they would not bring new mixer drivers aboard in 2016. The most successful and frequently used recruiting tools are internal employee referral, followed by social media.

Mixer driver turnover in 2015 was 32 percent, with two-thirds quitting and one-third released. The turnover rate equates to about 23,000 drivers; of that pool, a subset of 11,000 drivers were hired and quit in 2015, the majority leaving within their first three months. Mixer drivers’ average age was 46 years, matching U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Department of Transportation estimated age for commercial drivers in 2015. The NRMCA survey finds tenure for mixer drivers averaging nine years. A 2016 Mixer Driver Recruitment and Hiring Survey executive summary is available for free download here, where NRMCA members can also obtain a complete report.