Location, location, location: The future of driver recruiting — and pay models

Fleets of all types, but especially those with the most successful recruiting and retention programs, increasingly are shifting to location-based hiring models — and compensation structures that fit those models. Location-based hiring built around localized compensation programs translates to more driver applications, a stronger applicant and candidate pool, and higher retention rates, according to survey data from The National Transportation Institute. 

One of the most critical components of location-based hiring programs is the ability to take a highly granular look at professional driver compensation and the hundreds of attributes that make up a driver’s paycheck — all based on market-level analysis to benchmark pay in hiring locations. As noted in NTI’s 2024 Driver Market Forecast, that trend has accelerated over the past decade and will continue as trucking’s operations evolve, as demands of the workforce change, as location-based hiring and compensation becomes more entrenched, and as private and dedicated fleets continue to emphasize growing their workforce.

NTI works with hundreds of fleets who hire based on location and benchmark their pay based on market-level data analysis, and their recruiting and retention programs show the most resilience and success. Given the already hyper-competitive nature of the driver hiring market, it’s essential to consider adding location-based driver pay benchmarking to your fleet’s recruiting and retention strategy. Here’s why:

Fill seats more quickly: NTI data shows driver pay varies significantly by location. Leveraging location-based driver pay data helps your fleet stay competitive by aligning compensation packages with market-level data and making your company more attractive to driver candidates in the area. Factors such as cost of living, and maybe more importantly, supply of and demand for available drivers in competitive markets, make location-based pay benchmarking a critical element of any driver compensation plans. 

Find opportunities to market your fleet’s jobs: Whether your fleet recruits and retains from one location or hundreds, location-based benchmarking allows your fleet to calibrate your wages exactly where you want them in every market you operate. Market-level data empowers you to know where your fleet’s opportunities stand out in every market and use that knowledge to build marketing programs to recruit new drivers and retain existing ones. 

Build pay packages for long-term retention: Aligning your fleet’s compensation based on location leads to higher driver satisfaction and longer-term retention. With location-based benchmarking, your fleet can know exactly what you need to pay in a market to attract and retain drivers and position your company’s pay where you want it to meet your growth goals. 

Arm yourself to work with internal stakeholders and customers: Using the right data and analytics is core to driver internal decision making. With location-based benchmarks, you can not only adjust your wages and total earnings to bolster recruiting and retention success, but you also have invaluable data to communicate internally with operations and leadership teams, as well as with customers when bidding freight contracts.  



Are you interested in implementing location-based driver pay benchmarking? NTI’s National City-Centric Driver Pay Survey includes accurate, verified data on mileage, hourly, and W2 earnings and detailed insights into local, regional, OTR, and dedicated fleet wages for median and 75th percentile earnings, as well as attributes like labor level, hazmat, and handling rates, for more than 700 locations nationwide. 

To harness the full potential of the National City-Centric Driver Pay Survey and future-proof your driver recruiting and retention efforts, schedule a consultation with the NTI team today. ⬇️


Are you a member of the press and working on an article, video, podcast, webinar, or other content for which you’d like to reference NTI data or interview a source from The National Transportation Institute?
Email us at press@driverwages.com.


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Listen live every month

On the first Thursday of every month, NTI President & CEO Leah Shaver, aka the Sunshine Girl, goes live on air on SiriusXM Channel 146, Road Dog Trucking, to talk with drivers about all things pay. From paycheck questions to working with fleets on resolving issues around compensation, HR and legal, life on the road, and relationships with their employers, Payday on Road Dog Live dives into topics drivers care about most.

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