The ready mixed concrete industry has followed what federal labor statisticians have labeled the “Year of the Great Resignation” for 2021.
An analysis of the data received for NRMCA’s Mixer Driver Recruitment & Retention Survey showed that 28 of every 100 drivers hired in 2021 quit at some point during the year, 3% above the reported U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ national resignation rate of 25%.
The latest figures continue a trend that began at least seven years ago when survey respondents cited low pay and inconsistent daily schedules as the top two reasons they quit their jobs. When asked where former employees went, first place was tied between taking a job with a competitor or a short-haul commercial driving job outside the industry, according to NRMCA. Those reasons have been listed as the two top reasons for seven consecutive years.
In 2021, the industry hired approximately 39% (29,000) of the U.S. mixer driver pool. With the ongoing national commercially licensed driver shortage, 71% reported their biggest hiring challenge was too small a hiring pool. Coming in second was finding drivers with ready mixed concrete experience. In the past four years, NRMCA Producer members willing to hire new CDLs grew from 51% to 68%, although the actual number hired was only 4.5% of the driver pool. In the past five years, producers willing to hire 18–21-year-old CDLs increased 25%, but regional differences were dramatic, from a 93% high in the North Central states to a 36% low in the Southeast, according to NRMCA.
In the five years represented in this year’s survey, NRMCA calculates ready mixed concrete production grew 9% while the mixer driver population continues to hold steady for the eighth year, at about 75,000.
Mixer drivers’ median age remained at 47.0 years for the third year in a row. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the 2021 median age of a truck transportation worker was 46.4 years and 45.5 years for durable goods manufacturing: “cement, concrete, lime, and gypsum products” workers. According to NRMCA, tenure median continued at seven years, while tenure for all American workers was 4.1 years, as reported in 2020.