New J.B. Hunt Transport Compensation Program Hits the Mark


A new compensation program recently announced by J.B. Hunt Transport is hitting its mark by attracting the attention of experienced truck drivers. Scheduled to take effect Feb. 25, the pay scale for over-the-road (OTR) irregular route truck drivers who start with J.B. Hunt will be 33 percent higher than its current rate. J.B. Hunt will pay 37 cents per dispatched mile for those with one to five years experience, 38 cents per dispatched mile for drivers with five to 10 years experience, and 40 cents per dispatched mile for those with 10-plus years experience. The package makes good sense from a corporate standpoint, said Steve Palmer, J.B. Hunt executive vice president of human resources and risk management. "Historically, the trucking industry has suffered from a high turnover," he explained. "We've recruited from truck driving schools as well as our own schools, and incurred a lot of costs in advertising and safety because the learning curve was so high. Yet, we found the turnover was higher with new drivers than those with experience. We decided we had more money to pay as long as we could attract more experienced drivers." Palmer said the program has already captured the interest of drivers who recently left the industry, especially those who felt they weren't being paid enough to remain in the industry as OTR drivers. "What we're finding has been surprising. More than 50 percent of experienced drivers we're hiring have over five years of experience, compared to the 10 or 20 percent we anticipated. We're also getting drivers from competitors which we probably would not have gotten before, which tells us they view the pay increase as very important. We did not initiate this new program to impact the industry, but to help with our situation." Headquartered in Lowell, Arkansas, J.B. Hunt owns 9000 trucks and employs approximately 13,000 individuals, about 70 percent of who are truck drivers. The company services the 48 continental U.S. states, Canada and Mexico.