Survey finds increasing equilibrium in mixer driver recruitment, demand

Sources: National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Alexandria, Va.; CP staff

The NRMCA Mixer Driver Recruitment & Retention Survey shows an improved, year-over-year outlook for ready mixed concrete producers to maintain a healthy delivery professional pool. In 2019, 47 percent of respondents turned away orders due to lack of mixer truck drivers, down from 60 percent in 2018. The number of producers citing mixer driver vacancies dropped from 95 percent to 87 percent over the same window. 

In 2018, the survey closed with approximately 10,000 open mixer driver jobs; as of April 30, 2020, the last day of 2019 data collection, the number of openings was down to 6,000. Finding drivers with ready mixed concrete experience remains the biggest hiring challenge. In response, more producers were willing to hire 18-21 year-old drivers (51 percent) and newly-licensed commercial drivers (56 percent) in 2019. Approximately 7 percent of new hires were new commercially-licensed drivers, about the same as the previous year. Finally, more producers (65 percent) rehired former employees in 2019, equating to 8 percent of the new-hire mixer driver pool.

“This year’s solid findings show the survey’s continuing importance to producer members as well as the industry at large,” says NRMCA Executive Vice President of Compliance and Operations Gary Mullings. “Mixer driver shortages are a longstanding issue and this report offers insight on how to steadily reduce if not eliminate the lack of qualified drivers.”

Mixer Driver Recruitment & Retention Survey results show turnover remains a concern. About one-third of the mixer driver population quit or was released in 2019. Within the approximate 25,000 drivers who left, 74 percent had more than one year’s tenure. Turnover rate in 2019 increased for the fifth year, to 33.4 percent. And for the first time, the survey found more drivers quit to work for a competitive ready mixed concrete operator, though the perennial leading factor—landing a short-haul driving job outside concrete—was just 1 percent behind. For the fifth year, higher pay elsewhere and inconsistent daily schedules remained the top two reasons drivers quit. The quit/released ratio stayed at 66:33.