Sources: National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Alexandria, Va.; CP staff
National Ready Mixed Concrete Association 2021 Mixer Driver Recruitment & Retention Survey results show that delivery professional turnover is the primary reason why respondents report lost business during 2020. From five years of survey data, NRMCA estimates that ready mixed concrete production grew 9 percent year over year, while the mixer driver population held steady at about 75,000.
Beginning in the second quarter, the NRMCA Workforce Development Committee conducts the annual survey of prior year staffing and production metrics, releasing results ahead of the group’s fall ConcreteWorks Conference & Expo. Based on the universe of respondents, the committee estimates that the current survey embodies data representing 34 percent of the mixer driver population. The imbalance in 2020 industry output and delivery professional pool recruitment and retention is reflected in a key takeaway: Nearly 70 percent of respondents cite lost business due to their company’s driver shortage. Driver employment data, moreover, continues to swing far more regionally than by company size.
For the fifth year, the mixer driver turnover rate increased in 2020, reaching 35 percent among survey respondents. Approximately 26,500 drivers left the industry, nearly three quarters of them having more than one year’s tenure. The Workforce Development Committee finds no notable swings or new trends in layoffs or departures among delivery professional ranks; therefore, nothing in 2020 figures could be directly attributed to the pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic. Inconsistent daily schedules and higher pay elsewhere remained the top two reasons for drivers having quit. Likewise, producers continue to report that the top two new destinations for departing drivers are competing ready mixed producers or short-haul commercial fleets.
With the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse in effect for a year, the 2021 survey collected data relating to positive results in drug and alcohol screening. While only 1 percent of all mixer drivers were dismissed, 48 percent of respondents reported dismissing drivers. The industry hired approximately 25,500 mixer drivers during the latest survey period.
Finding candidates with ready mixed concrete delivery experience remains survey respondents’ biggest hiring challenge. In the past three years, producers willing to hire new CDL holders grew from 51 percent to 59 percent, although the actual number hired of the total is just 7 percent. In the past four years, producers willing to hire 18-21 year old candidates possessing CDLs increased 21 percent, but the regional differences were dramatic, from a 98 percent high in the Midwest/Great Lakes region to an 11 percent low in the Southeast.