More than one-quarter of drivers working in the ready-mixed concrete industry quit their jobs at some point in 2021, and many producers say a driver shortage is cutting into profits, according to data from the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA). Statisticians have dubbed the trend of Americans voluntarily leaving their jobs as “the Great Resignation,” and Department of Labor statistics reveal that over 47 million workers quit their jobs voluntarily in 2021.
Resignations in 2021 were higher among ready-mixed drivers than the national average, according to the NRMCA’s Mixer Driver Recruitment and Retention Survey, which showed that 28% of drivers quit their jobs at some point in 2021. That’s 3% higher than the national resignation rate of 25% reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“For the past seven years, higher pay and inconsistent daily schedules persisted as the top two reasons mixer drivers quit,” the NRMCA’s executive summary of the survey concluded. “When asked where former employees went, first place was tied between taking a job with a competitor and a short-haul commercial driving job out of the industry.”
More than 70% of survey respondents said their company lost business due to an ongoing national shortage of drivers. That’s up from 47% of respondents in 2019, before the pandemic.
The survey analyzed answers from 166 respondents. The information was collected anonymously from NRMCA members and analyzes national trends in the industry. Finding drivers with ready-mixed concrete experience was the second-largest challenge for companies, according to the NRMCA.
The NRMCA survey looked at the past five years, and the association estimated that ready-mixed concrete production grew 9% during that time. While production steadily increased, the NRMCA data revealed that the population of ready-mixed drivers held steady, at around 75,000 nationally.
One interesting finding of the survey was that ready-mixed producers said they are more willing to hire less-experienced CDL drivers.
“In the past five years, producers willing to hire 18- to 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,” a summary of the report stated. “Thoughtfulness toward a host of challenges for over 50% of the ready-mixed concrete workforce is essential for business to remain healthy.”