Exploring Delivery Drivers’ Fears and Predictions
Over 1,000 delivery drivers share details about their day-to-day lives: a combination of their biggest fears, aspirations, and visions for the future.
Circuit for Teams recently explored the day-to-day lives of delivery drivers by asking over 1,000 of them about their biggest fears and frustrations, what would make their jobs better, and how they feel about the industry’s future. They shared their thoughts about technology and their employment plans for 2023.
Delivery with a human touch
Circuit for Teams recently surveyed over 1,000 delivery drivers to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes of courier services. The results revealed all sorts of aspects of this particular career, including both the good and the bad.
- 89% of delivery drivers support AI-generated delivery routes; package delivery drivers support them the most.
- Nearly 1 in 4 delivery drivers fear drones will take their job; package delivery drivers are most likely to feel this way.
- 1 in 2 delivery drivers say a raise next year would make their job more tolerable.
- 87% of delivery drivers plan to continue the job in 2023.
Describe your job in one word
Interesting or boring, unfulfilling or rewarding, stressful or relaxing? Hiring and training new delivery drivers are expensive. As a dispatcher, you must know how your drivers feel about their jobs, now and in the future.
A majority of delivery drivers (61%) felt satisfied with their jobs, with FedEx (65%) and Amazon (63%) drivers most likely to say so. However, 72% of the drivers surveyed had experienced burnout, with DHL (82%) and Amazon (77%) drivers again standing out among them.
While almost half of our respondents found their career interesting, less than a third described it as rewarding. Most drivers felt the work was more challenging than what they earned, with only 38% feeling well-paid.
Most delivery drivers we surveyed began their current job thinking it would be temporary, but drivers may define “temporary” differently. Only 10% said they plan to continue for less than one year, while more than half shared that they intend to continue for up to two years.
Food delivery workers saw the least amount of longevity, with DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats drivers most likely reporting plans to work for only a couple of months longer. That could be due to drivers for these companies making less per hour than drivers for other food delivery services.
But Amazon drivers might be some of the happiest on the road! Almost half (47%) of them told us they plan to keep their job for at least three more years — even those working more than one delivery job. That accounted for most drivers overall (80%), but package delivery drivers (87%) were more likely than food delivery drivers (70%) to have doubled up on their employment.
It can be hard to separate life from work when you have multiple jobs, which may be why 38% of drivers were only slightly satisfied with their work-life balance. These feelings were reported by more DHL drivers (47%) than any other courier. Though many drivers reported a good work-life balance (61%), there’s clearly room for improvement.
Key takeaway: Most delivery drivers are satisfied with their jobs, with Amazon and FedEx leading the pack.
Roadblocks and speed bumps
Driving can be frustrating, even when you’re not being paid to do it. We asked delivery drivers to clue us in on what bothers and worries them most while on the job.
By far, the greatest fear of all survey participants was getting in a car accident, with 40% saying it’s been their biggest concern. Even getting robbed or looted (the two least-reported top fears) were less of a concern, with only a quarter or so saying as much.
Also worrisome was the possibility of being replaced by drones, especially among package delivery drivers. DHL (33%) and Amazon (25%) drivers were most likely to feel the impending pressure of automation eliminating their jobs.
Traffic jams were reported as the most frustrating daily obstacles, followed closely by vehicle breakdowns and the human element: rude customers. On that note, not receiving a tip was a pain felt by more than a fifth of food delivery drivers.
An alarming number of respondents also lumped some of their own basic needs in with their list of annoyances. Almost a third said taking bathroom breaks was a hassle because stopping slowed them down.
Key takeaway: Accidents and traffic jams are the most frustrating and worrisome aspects of day-to-day life for delivery drivers.
Is delivery driving worth it?
After looking at these common drawbacks, we asked our respondents to rate the good and bad of their profession and if they’d be ok with following a computer-generated route when making their deliveries.
Despite some drivers needing more human connection at work, most of them approved of using AI-generated routes for delivery. An AI system looks at factors like distance and traffic congestion to create routes for drivers, helping them to deliver their packages as efficiently as possible.
Package delivery drivers were especially interested in AI-generated delivery routes (91%), and only 11% of all survey recipients were opposed. However, it’s still early days for this technology, as evidenced by recent issues some drivers have had with unrealistic AI route plans.
Some delivery route planning systems still need a human hand at the wheel!
As for what keeps drivers working in the delivery business, alone time, money, and flexibility ranked as the highest “pros” for all those we surveyed. On the “cons” end of the spectrum, drivers were mainly tired of driving, sitting in traffic, and feeling lonely.
Knowing how your drivers feel may help you to understand and manage them better. Insights like these may also help you to supply the tools and support they need to succeed, improving their happiness and productivity on the job.
Key takeaway: Most drivers support AI-generated routes — delivery routes which have been created and optimized by a computer system.
What’s coming down the road?
Drivers are keeping an eye on where the profession is heading. Lastly, they shared their thoughts on delivery trends going into 2023.
Drone delivery and self-driving trucks were rated highest among predictions on the route that delivery driving is likely to take in the future.
Still, 87% of drivers said they plan to keep on trucking, with DHL and Amazon drivers the most likely to stay in the driver’s seat. DoorDash and Uber Eats drivers, on the other hand, were the most likely to say they’ll be changing careers soon.
So, what could help keep them on the job in the next year?
Over half (53%) said access to professional educational programs would increase their job satisfaction. Continuing education could help drivers learn how to do their jobs better and more safely.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, half of our respondents also said increased pay would make their jobs more rewarding, with DHL (62%), Grubhub (58%), and Amazon (54%) drivers saying it would keep them happiest.
Vehicle upgrades might be another way to lessen turnover. According to the delivery drivers we asked, this perk was as valuable as a 401(k)!
Key takeaway: 87% of delivery drivers plan to keep trucking, despite almost half (48%) believing that automation (like drone delivery and self-driving trucks) will become a big industry trend in 2023.
Driving Into the Future
AI-generated routes are one way for humans and computers to work together to achieve a common goal — safe, timely deliveries. Most drivers prefer to leave directions to technology, but some worry about being replaced by drones or self-driving trucks. Despite their fears, many drivers remain optimistic about their profession and plan to continue into 2023.
We hope this study has helped you to better understand your delivery team. Keep communications with them open, especially when new technology becomes part of their jobs, and you might just have a more fulfilled and productive workforce next year.
For this campaign, we surveyed 1,015 delivery drivers. Among them, 40% were women, and 60% were men. Also, 67% of respondents were package delivery drivers, and 33% were food delivery drivers.
About Circuit for Teams
Circuit for Teams routing software makes it easy to optimize routes for multiple drivers, keep customers updated, and get proof of delivery.
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Ready to tell your team about the state of delivery drivers and their outlook for next year? Anyone can share these findings for noncommercial purposes if they provide a link back to this page.