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59 CHAPTER 5 The Relationship Between Compensation and Turnover Purpose of the Analysis All of these items were tested for their influence on reten- and Data Sources tion, which was measured using the annual post-training turnover rate (defined as the number of operators terminated Relatively low levels of compensation are often cited as after completion of training in the preceding 12 months, either issues in ADA paratransit vehicle operator recruitment and voluntarily or not, divided by the current number of opera- retention. This was noted in several reports and articles identi- tors). The following three additional variables that could influ- fied in the literature search. It was also one of the key findings ence retention were also tested: of the focus group discussions summarized in Chapter 3. The national survey results summarized in Chapter 4 also provided · Whether the provider is a public transit system or a private information that suggested that vehicle operator compensa- company under contract to a public transit system; tion was an issue. Wages for ADA paratransit vehicle operators · Completion rate (the percentage of trainees who completed were found to be lower than for fixed-route operators. Fringe training in the past 12 months); and benefits for ADA paratransit operators were also found to be · Part-time operators as a percentage of all paratransit minimal, especially for services operated by private contrac- operators. tors. An initial tabulation and graphing of starting wage rates versus turnover rates, based on the survey responses, also indi- Labor rates in each service area were used to adjust wages cated a possible relationship (see Figure 3-8). to account for the fact that operators in different parts of the It would be expected that higher rates of compensation country face very different circumstances in deciding whether would enable providers to attract more qualified applicants and to stay with a job driving a paratransit vehicle. For this pur- to be more selective in hiring qualified operators who are likely pose, median hourly wages for Transportation and Material to stay on the job. High rates of compensation would also be Moving Occupations from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' expected to reduce incentives for operators to seek other work. May 2008 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupa- To test this hypothesis, a regression analysis was conducted tional Employment and Wage Estimates were used. using data obtained from the national survey. Components of Some preliminary tabulations of these variables were pre- compensation that were requested from respondents in the pared for the Interim Report. Since then, the data have been national survey included the following: subjected to rigorous examinations to detect possible mis- understandings in the responses or data entry errors as the · Training wage, respondents typed their answers into the survey website. As · Starting wage, needed, respondents were contacted by email to resolve uncer- · Maximum wage, tainties. Some points of confusion that were found included · Days of vacation in the first year of employment, the following: · Maximum vacation days per year that can be earned, · Paid holidays per year, · Counting taxi drivers as employees; · Percent employee contribution required for individual · Responding with full-time equivalents instead of numbers health care coverage, and of employees; · Percent employee contribution required for family health · Including operators who drive both paratransit and fixed care coverage. route;