Based on five years’ worth of survey data, the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association calculated ready mixed concrete production grew 9% while the mixer driver population held steady at about 75,000. - Photo: National Ready Mixed Concrete Association

Based on five years’ worth of survey data, the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association calculated ready mixed concrete production grew 9% while the mixer driver population held steady at about 75,000.

Photo: National Ready Mixed Concrete Association

The results of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association’s (NRMCA) latest annual mixer driver recruitment and retention survey shows driver turnover has once again been cited as a primary reason why ready mixed concrete producers have lost business. Based on five years’ worth of survey data, NRMCA calculated ready mixed concrete production grew 9% while the mixer driver population held steady at about 75,000; perhaps suggesting why 68% of survey participants reported they lost business due to their company’s driver shortage. Another 2021 takeaway shows driver employment data continuing to swing far more regionally than by the size of a company.

For the fifth year, the mixer driver turnover rate increased - it is now at 35%. Approximately 26,500 left the industry; 71% of that total had more than one-year’s tenure. There were no notable swings or new trends in layoffs or departures; therefore, nothing 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 continued to report the top two new job placements were drivers taking short-haul commercial driving jobs or moving to a competitive ready mix producer.

With the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse in effect for a year, the survey collected data relating to positive results in drug and alcohol screening. While only 1% of all mixer drivers were dismissed, 48% of producers reported dismissing drivers.

The industry hired approximately 25,500 mixer drivers during the latest survey period. Finding drivers with ready mixed concrete experience remained the biggest hiring challenge. In the past three years, producers willing to hire new CDLs grew from 51% to 59%, although the actual number hired of the total is just 7%. In the past four years, producers willing to hire 18-21 year old CDLs increased 21%, but the regional differences were dramatic, from a 98% high in the Midwest/Great Lakes region to an 11% low in the Southeast.

NRMCA’s mixer driver recruitment and retention survey respondents represent their company and report on their driver-employees. Data represents 34% of the estimated mixer driver population. 

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