It’s not exactly a big secret that the United States has a huge shortage of truck drivers. It’s estimated that the industry is currently functioning with 50,000 fewer drivers than it needs. Much thought has been given to potential solutions to this problem, and one solution is hiring more millennials as semi-truck drivers. The word “millennial” gets tossed around a lot when it comes to recruiting, which makes sense: they’re the largest age group in the workforce.
The concern with trucking is that because the average age for a truck driver is about 55, there will not be enough young people interested in trucking to enter the industry and replace them. But it’s proved to be quite difficult for truck businesses to recruit and hire millennials. We’ll explain why that is, and we’ll also offer tips to help you recruit and retain young drivers at your business.
Why don’t millennials want to be truckers?
The trucking shortage has resulted in many trucking businesses raising salaries and offering more benefits for drivers – they want to attract people to the field. But it hasn’t quite been working. Why? Millennials simply aren’t interested in trucking.
The lifestyle of trucking – the long hours, limited time off, lack of comforts, and time away from family and friends – isn’t attractive to the “younger generation.” Most millennials place great value on work-life balance, and trucking is not an industry that easily allows for that. The limited supervision and limited camaraderie with fellow employees are also factors.
The other obstacle is training. It’s expensive to go to truck school to get a CDL, and without the interest in becoming a truck driver, few millennials are willing to pay the fees and go through the extensive training.
(Another factor is that you have to be 21 to cross state lines as a truck driver. This prevents 18-year-olds who are just graduating high school but who aren’t headed to college from seeing trucking as a viable career path for them right at that moment. And by the time they’re 21, they’re invested in another career path.)
So, that’s where the situation stands: trucking is a tough sell for millennials, even with the salary and the benefits offered by many trucking businesses. And that’s why recruiting is key.
Tips to recruit millennials as truck drivers for your business.
1. Go where your audience is – social media.
One stereotype about millennials is that they’re obsessed with their smartphones and with social media. And, well, it’s a valid observation (although one can’t make sweeping statements about an entire population of people.)
Facebook and other social media platforms are a great way to reach millennials and get them interested in the trucking world. You can spark the idea about truck driving by meeting millennials where they are. They tend to prefer digital content over print, and they tend to like video and blogs.
2. Use mobile job applications.
Your job application needs to be smartphone-friendly. Yes, you might have a perfectly good website-based application, but you greatly increase your chances of reaching millennials if you have a mobile alternative. It has to be easy to use and functional so they don’t bail halfway through. As we said, millennials really like their smartphones.
3. Evaluate your workplace culture.
Does your company culture allow for camaraderie? Do you have events for employee appreciation? Do you have training and mentoring programs? Basically, does your workplace reflect that you’re invested in your people and that you value them? This sort of workplace is more attractive to millennials.
4. Make work-life balance a thing.
Yes, work-life balance can be tricky when you’re in the trucking world. But there are some things you can do to help your business allow for work-life balance. You can offer plenty of time off. You can do your best to create flexible schedules. You can find ways to keep more drivers located close to home so they can see their family and friends more often. And for your long-haul truck drivers, you can provide reliable wi-fi that will help them stay in touch with their loved ones. Show your millennial candidates that you understand how much they value their families and friends, and that you want them to be able to live their life outside of work.
5. Offer benefits.
Ah, yes – benefits. Offering healthcare and good benefits can be a really important factor for this generation. Think about it – millennials who are turning 26 are about to get booted off their parents’ insurance.
6. Don’t fall for the “negative press” surrounding millennials.
There’s a lot of stereotypes out there about millennials. Some of them are not flattering: They’re lazy. They’re not loyal to their company. They switch jobs a lot. They’re demanding and unreliable. But the thing is that you can’t treat all millennials as if they’re just lazy kids who don’t want to work hard. You need to treat them all as individuals and understand their strengths and weaknesses. Don’t write them off just because they’re a millennial.
7. Check your job descriptions.
Okay, be honest – when’s the last time you checked over your job description and updated it? If it’s been a while, you might want to revise it. Update the language and focus a lot on the job duties and responsibilities. Accept that the millennial truck driver might not have as much work experience as someone older and be prepared to train them and mentor them as needed. By laying all your cards on the table about what the job entails, you’ll attract the sort of people you’re looking for.
8. Revamp your interview process.
Think about how you’re conducting your interviews. Are you essentially sitting someone in a room and putting them under a microscope? Instead, you might want to consider online interviews through apps like Skype. It makes the process a little less stressful on the candidate. Make sure to spend time explaining about your company, the workplace culture, and your values. This will give the candidate a real sense of what it would be like to work for your business.
As the generation of truck drivers in their 50s begins to retire, we’re going to need drivers to replace them. Millennials might be the solution. If you’re wanting to hire more millennial drivers, try out some of the above tips. Remember, go to where your audience is, consider work-life balance, and provide a company culture that shows how much you value your employees.
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