How do we make our industry attractive to young people? Recruiting events are in high gear this Spring with multiple events happening each month starting in February and continuing into early Summer. Having attended many of these events across the Province I can tell you from first hand experience that the events are well attended with many people looking at the trucking industry. The question, is it enough to attract people to your team?
The argument is still out on whether there is an actual driver shortage or a qualified driver shortage in the industry? The real question is how do we make this job attractive to the next generation? With older generations cool trucks had a lot to do with it, following in your Father’s footsteps, or a love of working with machinery would be a big draw to starting a career in transportation. Those avenues have dried up as of late with fewer people coming in from those areas and more immigrant workers looking for a future in Canada.
There was a recent article in Truck News talking about the image of trucking and what we need to do to attract the younger generation. It talked about demographics and the future of the industry if we don’t do something to make the industry more attractive and soon. You can read the article here – https://www.trucknews.com/human-resources/you-really-have-some-work-to-do/1003090712/
Having Millennials myself there is a difference into what they want and what trucking can offer. Many younger people are looking for that lifestyle balance which is tough in trucking. Older generations have put working in front of many other areas of their lives and the younger generation doesn’t want to do that. By focusing more on lifestyle it is taking them longer to grow up for some and even harder to get into a career. This is why the gaming industry is so attractive, it’s what they do. Add on the pressure of social media where young people can see another person their age make millions by creating a YouTube channel and they find that even more attractive. Who can blame them?
When we turn back to the transportation industry we see exactly the opposite of all of those things. We see long hours at work, we see a lifestyle that doesn’t offer the compensation or the fun of what young people are doing now. it’s also not where their friends are heading. Even though the career steps are there young people don’t see how the hard work is going to better their lives even though we as a different generation have lived it and try to tell them about it. The real question is what are we doing to address those issues and make trucking look sexy? How are we going to offer a work / lifestyle balance, earn a decent income, and offer an opportunity to be a star or do work that is cool? If you can implement those items into your recruiting I believe you will attract young people, I know it is easier said than done!
My suggestions are as follows:
- We need to get create an industry where the hours are shorter such as a 40 hour work week.
- Change the compensation and career towards a skilled trade so there is career progression.
- Show the technology side of the business and the types of jobs needed in the future.
- Show how cool the work is through it’s independence and travel.
- Improve the trucking image as a whole to be more attractive to the younger generation.
Do you have those elements in your recruiting campaign? If there is a way of creating them then you will be a front runner for success.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com