Trucking, and in particular, trucking in Manitoba offers a great fulfilling career for the hard-working people in the industry. Trucking also faces a big problem – millennials just don’t seem to be interested in trucking.
As our population ages, the industry needs to attract younger workers to replace the ones who are retiring. This isn’t a new problem for trucking nor is it unique to trucking. Most sectors have a problem with recruiting qualified talent. Every sector has had disruption when the new generation of workers enter the workforce and has had to adapt – that will never change.
The talent shortage in trucking goes beyond the driver shortage. Everyone in trucking talks about the driver shortage and how it’ll get worse as more drivers retire and leave the industry, but the industry needs to attract talent for other positions too. Trucking and transportation need top management, maintenance, and HR personnel.
So, how does trucking need to change to attract younger workers?
Why Millennials are not Interested in Trucking
In a survey, Trucking HR, showed that millennials gave the trucking transport industry the lowest positive impression while construction received a very high positive impression. However, the survey showed a group who have career interests aligning with trucker-type work, indicating some potential of being persuaded to consider long-haul trucking with the right communication strategy.
Part of the issue is misconceptions. We’ll talk about a couple of them here.
Millennials don’t view trucking as a safe work environment. Trucking is more hazardous than some other professions. Safety has been a priority for trucking for quite some time now. More needs to be done to improve the industry’s image on this front.
Another misconception is that autonomous vehicles will phase out trucking jobs soon. This couldn’t be further from the truth. This misconception is driven by economists & tech writers who don’t seem to understand the transportation industry. Here’s one example. These are the same types who predicted back in the early 2000s that we’d all be driving electric-powered vehicles by now.
Automation will change the way drivers do their jobs, not eliminate them. Autonomous vehicles will make truckers’ jobs easier and new technology will make the job safer. We are a really long time away from the elimination of truck drivers.
How Can Trucking Attract More Younger Talent?
Trucking has a lot that should appeal to younger workers. If the industry is too attract younger talent, we need to put in the effort. There has been a lot written about what motivates millennials and what they are looking for in a career and life. Their attitude aligns with trucking nicely. Millennials are a hard-working generation (broadly speaking) but want to work differently than generations past.
More emphasis has been put on work-life balance and that needs to continue. Drivers can no longer be treated as interchangeable numbers and we see a lot more flexibility in schedules industry-wide.
We should be advocates of the benefits of the trucking industry. We work in an industry that is fast-paced with a lot of career mobility. Trucking and transportation change rapidly with new technology. There is a huge focus on safety, not only for truck drivers and employees but for everyone we interact with daily. Combine that with the importance of the transportation industry to the economy, and the good community work truckers & trucking companies undertake, trucking has a significantly positive social impact.
Trucking is a complex and exciting industry and we all should advocate for it.