Truck Driver Shortage: Recruiting Millennials

Truck Driver Shortage: Recruiting Millennials
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They have a bad rep – they are often considered entitled, lazy, and uninterested in working. Yet, Millennials, or people born between 1982 and the early 2000s, currently make up at least 40 percent of the workforce in the U.S. There are plenty of negative stereotypes out there about Millennials. So much so that the word “Millennial” has almost become a negative descriptor when it comes to discussions about recruiting them to work. If you think ahead to what the generations to come will be like, such as Generation Z, you might feel exceptionally overwhelmed. Perhaps in coming to a better understanding of Millennial perspectives, the trucking industry could improve its recruitment of Millennials and younger generations to address the truck driver shortage.

truck driver shortage

Millennials and the Truck Driver Shortage

Recruiting millennial truck drivers might seem like an impossible task. However, Millennial truck drivers could be the key to solving the driver shortage. First,  it’s important to know just who this generation is and how they view their culture, workplace, and morals. Luckily, we have a complete overview of what millennial truck drivers want out of their employer and what makes them tick.

What Millennials Want

The millennial generation has grown alongside technology as it advances, so they are able to adapt and pick up new forms of technology with ease. While many assume this means that they’re glued to their smartphones, this simply isn’t the case. Millennials change careers twice as often as Generation X. This is partly because they entered the workforce during the Great Recession, but also because they value work-life balance above all else. Not surprisingly, 57 percent of Millennials would leave a job that didn’t respect that value. In addition, 38 percent said they’d even move to another country that had better parental leave options (iCIMS).

Millennial truck drivers also want to be contacted via outlets they’re familiar with. While email and a simple phone call might seem like the best option, millennials often prefer to communicate via text message. These drivers also want to see the importance of a blue-collar job like driving a truck. They’ve been taught for so long that they should aspire to be doctors and lawyers. This is why trucking companies need to make sure they show them the opportunities that a trucking career can spark. Millennials want jobs that will help them succeed in life, not just work.  You can show them this with comprehensive benefit plans and by encouraging employee engagement.  This also means having strong coaches and mentors within your company.

Here are a few other points to understand how many Millennials think:

  • They don’t want to work a job that they don’t like while barely making enough money to get by.
  • They are driven more by their passion than financial obligations, compared to previous generations.
  • They want a good work/life balance. They also want to feel like they are accomplishing something or growing in their career. If they do not feel fulfillment at a job, then they feel the need to move on.
  • Most importantly, Millennials like flexibility and to feel like they are in control of their environment.

Advertise to Millennials

Think about what Millennials want, and alter your job advertising to entice them. For example, everyone knows that truck drivers work long hours, many holidays and spend the majority of their time alone on the road. What’s the upside to all of this – especially from a younger person’s perspective?

Being a truck driver, in many ways, makes you your own boss. It also allows you to make good money and prepare for a better future. Show Millennials the huge impact that truck drivers have on the world by getting cargo from point A to point B and the danger to consumers of the truck driver shortage. Facts about the truck driver shortage could be a huge selling factor for Millennials, as they want to feel like they are making a difference at work. As a truck driver, they would also get to see the country, depending on what type of trucking job they take. Traveling for work would prevent them from being tied to a desk from 9 to 5 in a town they are most likely bored of.

Be Open to Change

Millennials could actually change the trucking industry for the better, according to some industry experts. Since Millennials have so much knowledge about technology and are more bilingual than the workforce preceding them, they will increase diversity in the trucking industry and perhaps find ways to improve it with new ideas.

It’s also important to think about your company brand. A millennial long-haul truck driver will have an intense appreciation for where he works and how it makes him feel. These young drivers seek out experiences and employment that make them feel significant — and they are hungry to be able to make something their own and be proud of it. How your trucks make drivers feel affects how they feel about your company — your employer brand. And your brand is defined by those gut feelings.

What is your trucking company doing to improve Millennial recruitment? Are you thinking about how to adapt to the younger generations entering the workforce?

Author: Lenay Ruhl

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3 Comments

  1. There is no driver shortage. There is a compliant slaves for pennies shortage. There is actually a turnover problem due to low pay and terrible treatment by companies. Pay us better and treat us better and the “shortage” will disappear. But y’all already know this

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  2. What about convicted felons trying to work but getting turned down and around even for the training? 5 guys including myself need trading and a start, there’s some of the shortages!

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    • That’s a good point! I know of this school, Roadrunner Driving School LLC, that works with convicted felons to help them get into trucking. You should look into that!

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