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New Research from ATRI Quantifies Truck Driver Motivations and Levels of Satisfaction

01 Dec 2021 2:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Today the American Transportation Research Institute released the results of its analysis examining the differing motivators for why truck drivers choose to be a Company Driver or an Owner-Operator/Independent Contractor (OO/IC). This analysis was prioritized by ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee to better understand the role of OO/IC in the trucking industry, and how legislative attempts to reclassify OO/IC as Company Drivers would impact those individuals and supply chains in general. 

ATRI’s research includes respondent data from over 2,000 professional truck drivers, of whom more than 2/3rds are OO/IC. When presented with identical factors that motivated their decision to be a Company Driver or OO/IC, Company Drivers indicated their top three motivators were Job Security/Stability, Income, and Healthcare/Retirement Savings. Among OO/IC, the top three motivating factors were Independence/Ability to Set Hours, Schedule/Flexibility, and Choice of Routes/Length of Haul. 

The analysis also examined the various compensation models used with Company Drivers and OO/IC and driver satisfaction levels with each. Both Company Drivers and OO/IC ranked Income as an important motivator and in terms of satisfaction, 68.9 percent of Company Drivers and 80.1 percent of OO/IC indicated being Very Satisfied/Satisfied with their income. Over 50 percent of OO/IC in ATRI’s dataset reported net incomes of over $75,000 in the previous year while nearly 70 percent of Company Drivers indicated their annual wages fell in the $50,000 to $100,000 range. A large percentage of OO/IC expected they would experience significant decreases in their job satisfaction (73.0%) and annual income (68.3%) if they were reclassified as a Company Driver. 

“ATRI’s analysis validates what we know to be true with our professional truck drivers – those who choose to be owner/operators are often motivated by the desire to be in charge of their schedule and work environment,” said Eric Fuller, president & CEO of U.S. Xpress Enterprises, Inc. “Understanding what motivates our company drivers and owner/operators allows us to better tailor offerings as we continue to focus on recruitment and retention.” 

In addition to examining the differences between Company Drivers and OO/IC, ATRI’s analysis also offers insight into the different motivating factors for female truck drivers versus their male counterparts. 

A copy of the full report is available from ATRI's website here


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