Our employees are the lifeblood of the work we do every day. That’s why we focus on developing talent at every level of the organization through career path planning and best-in-class training that is specifically designed for success in the service industry. At the heart of our engagement and retention strategy is a steadfast commitment to Waste Management’s values of people first and success with integrity.
Employee turnover continues to be a concern in the environmental services industry due to high demand in a strong economy for our skilled workers — especially truck drivers, route managers and maintenance technicians. The American Trucking Association estimates a shortfall of 48,000 drivers in 2018, with projections that the shortage could increase to 175,000 by 2025. To combat this growing issue, we strive to be a workplace of choice through competitive pay, solid benefits for long-term financial and personal health, and opportunities for growth across our ranks. We believe strongly in promoting from within and offer a wide array of training opportunities designed to help employees maximize their effectiveness at their jobs and gain new skills so they can take the next step in their careers.
We noted in our 2016 report that our goal is to reduce driver and fleet technician new-hire turnover by 50 percent. As the tracking of turnover on the following page indicates, our voluntary employee turnover remains a real challenge, clearly impacted by low employment rates and stiff competition for drivers and technicians expert at handling the sophisticated equipment and systems we use in the recycling and environmental services industry.
Being an employer of choice will be critical to our efforts to reverse the trend on employee turnover, and it motivates us to sharpen our focus on our values that help us retain and empower good employees. We also understand that competitive compensation is important. Earlier this year, we distributed savings from the new U.S. corporate tax restructure to every North American employee who does not participate in a company bonus or sales incentive plan. Approximately 34,000 Waste Management employees received a $2,000 reward in appreciation of their hard work.