Trucking’s changing demographics mean what once worked for hiring and retaining talent won’t work going forward.
According to the ATA’s statistics, the average annual turnover rate for long-haul truckers is greater than 90%.
Carriers will continue struggling to find and keep quality workers for daily operations—that hasn’t changed. But what has changed is the faces that make up the trucking talent pool.
Trucking’s getting younger
The retirement of the Baby Boomers means that experienced workers are leaving trucking in mass. And young people are the best bet for replacing those leaving the industry.
Technology is a significant concern for the younger workforce.
Young workers expect modern tech; they’ve grown up with smartphones, video games, and video streaming. They expect their technology to be intuitive and user-friendly, making their lives and jobs easier.
If you’re using tech developed in the 90s or even the 2000s, younger drivers will not be pleased—and you may lose them right there.
“They [young workers] no longer ask for sufficient technology at their jobs; they expect it. Often, this expectancy has been painted as entitlement, but what millennial workers really want are the tools they need to do their job efficiently.”—From The Millennial Expectation of Technology in the Workplace by Forbes
To appeal to younger drivers and help them achieve the efficiency they desire, you need tech that is:
Tech that utilizes optimization and augmented intelligence is now a standard for tech-savvy users. Early technology that doesn’t offer this will seem antiquated to younger drivers.
Younger drivers using smartphones and other user-friendly tech for more than a decade will expect the same from their work tech.
Usable on a smartphone
Millennials conduct their lives on their smartphones and will expect to do the same with their work. Requiring them to use a laptop will turn them off immediately.
Designed to make their lives easier
Again, the generations used to managing their finances, media, and so much more on their smartphones will not take kindly to tech that makes their lives harder instead of easier. Make sure you’re using systems that will meet their expectations. Technology like an intelligent TMS can help keep truck drivers happy.
More women are entering trucking
Over the years, more women have gotten into trucking. So carriers must adapt their hiring and retention plans to account for this growing workforce segment.
If anyone has her finger on the pulse of women truck drivers, it’s Ellen Voie.
Voie is president, CEO, and founder of the Women in Trucking Association and has observed that safety is a much higher priority for women than men, as is finding a company with a collaborative, team-oriented culture.
Consider the following approaches to improve driver retention for women drivers in your fleet:
Implement work/life balance programs
It’s a good idea to ensure holiday pay reflects an average day’s compensation and you honor and track special home time requests. If you offer rewards programs, ensure they include items that families will appreciate and enjoy.
Customize your recruiting messages
Got a notion to increase the number of women drivers in your fleet? Emphasize work/life balance in your marketing and recruitment.
Keep an eye on time-in-industry stats
Women are often less experienced in the trucking industry. However, as they gain experience, they will likely want their pay/settlement to be fair compared to other carriers and in line with their knowledge, which may influence their commitment.
Consider women’s safety concerns
Ask yourself, How well is our equipment maintained? Where are we sending our drivers? Are we sending drivers into unsafe areas with tornados, protests, or other disruptions or dangers?
More truckers are Hispanic
As Hispanics are becoming a larger portion of the US population, they’re also becoming a bigger part of trucking. So carriers must tailor their messaging to attract this growing segment.
Carriers can offer bilingual support to Hispanic truckers throughout the recruitment and hiring process. This can include providing job postings and application materials in Spanish, as well as offering bilingual support during interviews and onboarding.
Trucking’s changing demographics bring new opportunity
The trucking industry is undergoing significant demographic changes, so traditional approaches to hiring and retaining talent may no longer be effective. Carriers need to adapt to the changing face of the trucking talent pool and consider their unique needs and expectations.
By taking these steps, carriers can improve their hiring and retention rates, which is vital to meet the demand for goods transportation in the years to come.