Results from the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association Workforce Development Committee’s 2018 Mixer Driver Recruitment and Retention Survey confirm increased pressure on ready mixed producers to maintain a healthy concrete delivery professional pool. The survey indicates that the industry’s driver ranks dropped 3 percent between January and December 2017, while 48 percent of respondents reported lost business because they did not have drivers to deliver orders—up 12 percent from last year’s survey.
NRMCA notes a 34 percent year-over-year increase in survey respondents, perhaps illustrating producers’ desire to better understand recruitment and retention challenges. The mixer driver pool remains at about 75,000, roughly the same as reported for 2015 and 2016, while the turnover rate increased last year to 29.1 percent, up from 25.8 percent in 2016. That equates to about 18 percent of the driver pool or 13,500 drivers nationally (quit or released). Nine percent, or 6,600 drivers, were hired and left in 2017, up from 4,800 drivers the prior year. Mentoring new mixer drivers dropped to 74 percent from 85 percent in 2016. Additionally, many producers dropped the mentorship period to less than one month from up to three months.
In the survey’s four-year history, respondents have noted their biggest hiring challenge is finding drivers with ready mixed concrete experience. Seventy-six percent of producers will only hire such drivers, passing on commercially-licensed candidates or applicants under the age of 25.
Mixer drivers’ average age is 46.4 years, close to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2017 estimated age of heavy equipment commercial drivers of 46.7 years. This year’s survey response rate reflects 28 percent of NRMCA’s estimated 75,000 drivers. The association also estimates industry employment at 135,000, mixer drivers accounting for 56 percent of that total. A full survey report file, available to NRMCA members, is posted at www.nrmca.org/survey.