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Research Project
Driver Retention Strategy: The Role of a Career Path

The voluntary turnover rate among truckload carriers, at 50-100 percent, is excessive when compared to other industries. The turnover rate has been known to exceed 150 percent. It is believed that are several factors are involved in this retention problem suggested by anecdotal evidence coupled with human resource management theory. One factor that contributes to such a high turnover rate is the lack of a meaningful career path for drivers. This has been identified in several studies of job satisfaction conducted at the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, North Dakota State University, and elsewhere.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate (1) how the motivating potential for this job compare with other industries, (2) how much drivers agree with the components of the hypothetical career path, (3) how likely a career path or developmental opportunities is to improve retention/commitment, and (4) how drivers and managers differ in terms of their perceptions of realistic career paths. From this information and analysis, truckload firms can determine what drivers' career path needs are and identify potential strategies that they can implement to meet those needs.

The initial part of the study identifies a hypothetical career path based on theories of industrial psychology. This is followed with an in-depth analysis of what drivers' perceptions are of a career path that would improve job satisfaction. A final component of the study will identify management's perceptions of what a career path should consist of. This information is evaluated and synthesized into this report with conclusions and recommendations.

Final Report

Date: March 2000
Authors: Gene Griffin, Lynn Kalnbach, Brenda Lantz and Julie Rodriguez
Completed Report: DP-135

NDSU Dept 2880P.O. Box 6050Fargo, ND 58108-6050