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Hiring and sales to be trucking’s top pain points in 2023

by Emily AtkinsFebruary 17, 2023

Over half of trucking companies and freight brokers says hiring and retention is a top business challenge in 2023, according to a recent Canadian survey.

Between labour shortages, global supply chain disruptions, and skyrocketing fuel prices, the trucking industry has experienced unprecedented volatility since the pandemic began. As a result, 53.5 percent of respondents from both carriers and brokers found hiring and retention to be a top challenge heading into 2023.

While carriers are projected to face higher employee churn than brokers, turnover is not isolated to drivers. Data show an increase in turnover in broker organizations, suggesting that companies are facing retention concerns in all positions, including sales and back-office.

These results were reported in a new study by Rose Rocket, which produces cloud-based TMS software. The report uses research data, market data, and aggregated TMS usage data to inform a comprehensive outlook on trucking industry trends. A survey was fielded to carriers and brokers aiming to identify their challenges and approaches to solving them, the industry’s most time-consuming tasks, top investments, top technology used, and the leading industry news and research sources.

Of the survey respondents who called out hiring retention as a top challenge heading into 2023, 36 percent felt that improving hiring programs is the preferred approach, 18 percent felt improving company culture would help, while 11 percent opted for improving pay and incentives.

While the transportation industry has certainly felt the impacts of COVID and economic uncertainty, many of the top challenges have remained constant from pre-pandemic times.

“The similarity of responses seen from this diverse set of leaders makes it clear – most of us in trucking are encountering the same challenges,” said Alex Huras, head of market research at Rose Rocket. “How we tackle these challenges could make the difference between struggling and thriving in this uncertain environment.”

In 2023, inflationary pressures and reduced market demand are significant considerations for sales teams. When asked how they plan to remedy slower sales amid market volatility, 29 percent of respondents feel that acquiring new customers through cold calling is the top approach to building business, followed by 18 percent feeling that better communication with existing customers will increase revenue, and nearly 10 percent are looking to retain current customers through improved service performance.

“Viewing technology as a sales engine rather than a cost is really the key to most of the challenges that both carriers and brokers are facing in 2023,” said Justin Bailie, co-founder and chief strategy officer at Rose Rocket.

“Much of the trucking industry is still uncertain about just how broadly technology can positively impact their business. Tools that allow for detailed and real-time reporting will strengthen visibility for customers, improve the employee experience, and ultimately provide all stakeholders with what they need to succeed.”

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