The trucking industry moves more than 70% of the products sold in the United States alone from factory to point of sale. Why, then, are so many trucking companies facing an employment crisis?
The reason is that trucking is, at its heart, an old boys’ club. Most truck drivers are middle-aged white men, and the industry hasn’t done much to change this image, even as it needs more than 900,000 new drivers over the next decade or an average of 90,000 a year to meet the demand.
Enticing Women and Millennials
What should trucking companies do to help meet this need?
Experts say that, to help increase employment, image of the trucking career must change to entice more women and millennials to join the nationwide fleet. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average age of a truck driver is around 55, meaning that many lifetime truckers are swiftly reaching 66, the age of retirement and will be leaving the workforce soon.
While trucking isn’t an easy job, both men and women can be successful in the field. So why are so few women seeking commercial driver licenses (CDLs) and jobs in the trucking industry? According to reports, women truck drivers are less than 6% of the workforce.
Bringing in New Blood
Millennials are all about the work/life balance, and working as a trucker can throw this off. Offering flexible work hours — or as flexible as possible, anyway, considering the type of work involved — is one way to entice new drivers to look into a trucking career.
Talking to Drivers
Trucking companies should survey their drivers to find out what they want out of their jobs. What would make them consider a career in trucking, and what would make them stay if they were considering leaving? Talk to them and make changes accordingly.
Most drivers, especially new ones, are paid a flat rate according to the number of miles they drive during their shifts. This can scare away new drivers because there is no guarantee they’ll be able to pay the bills at home. Companies can offer their drivers a minimum number of miles every week to help meet the high demand for truckers while still keeping their drivers paid.
Changing the Image
There’s no need to sugarcoat the job to entice new drivers to the world of trucking. Be honest with them — it’s a hard job with long hours that will often take them far from home.
Trucking companies should stop making people think that trucking is a man’s job. According to industry experts, companies that offer both gender and ethnic diversity tend to rank higher in terms of annual financial returns than companies that don’t.
The trucking industry issues can’t be fixed by changing a few small things in the way they operate. It is important that trucking companies remember that they survive because of the hard work of their drivers. It’s up to these businesses to create an industry in which people of all kinds would want to be one of their drivers.