Truckload Driver Wages Jump In 2021 As Shortage, Supply Chain Issues Increase Demand

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Truckload Driver Wages Jump In 2021 As Shortage, Supply Chain Issues Increase Demand
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The American Trucking Associations’ upcoming 2022 Driver Compensation Study is a benchmarking tool that can be used to inform carriers on where exactly they stand in terms of driver pay and benefits. This study is a comprehensive evaluation that assesses how fleets compensate their drivers, including detailed data ranging from base pay packages and bonuses to benefits, such as paid time off. The survey data includes 185 fleets, over 135,000 employee drivers, and nearly 20,000 independent contractors, with data broken down by For-Hire TL carriers, LTL carriers and Private fleets. Pay rate data is for 2021, including estimates for annual compensation.

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The study provides company, employee driver, and employee benefits profiles for private, TL, and LTL carriers. Base-pay by years of experience, bonus and incentive data was vetted further:

  • TL – by trailer type and independent contractor, both drayage and non-drayage
  • LTL – by region, then OTR and local
  • Private Fleet – by employee driver and independent contractor

Truckload Drivers See An 18% Increase In Annual Compensation

Truckload drivers were paid an estimated median annual amount of $69,687 in 2021, including salaries and bonuses but not benefits. This figure reflects an 18% increase in annual compensation from our 2019 study and emphasizes the increase in demand for drivers in this sector.i Independent contractors at Truckload carriers performing non-drayage activities were paid an estimated median annual amount of $235,000 in 2021.

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Over ninety percent of TL respondents raised driver pay in 2021, offering an average increase of 10.9%. Ninety-six percent of TL carriers offered a referral bonus to employee drivers with a median value of $1,150—which is $150 higher than our last survey indicated. This was in conjunction with an even more impressive $750 increase in the median sign-on bonus offered by 54% of TL carriers.

Less-than-truckload drivers who hauled fright over-the-road were paid an estimated median amount of $73,000 in 2021. Less-than-truckload employee drivers on local routes were paid an estimated median amount of $55,000 last year.

100% of LTL respondents raised driver pay in 2021, offering an average increase of 2.6%. Eighty-two percent of LTL carriers offered a referral bonus to employee drivers with a median amount of $875, which is $80 higher than our last survey indicated. This was in conjunction with an even greater $1,500 increase in the median sign-on bonus offered by 53% of LTL carriers.

Private carriers paid their employee drivers an estimated median amount of $85,000 in 2021, the same value reported in our 2019 study. Seventy-six percent of private carriers offered a referral bonus to employee drivers with a median amount of $1,150—which is $250 higher than our last survey indicated. This was in conjunction with a $4,000 spike in the median sign-on bonus offered by 76% of private carriers.

Truckload


About ATA

American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move our nation’s freight.

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