Attract young drivers with a new message



Posted on 03/22/2017 by David Radke

Companies need to hire new drivers to meet demand.

The driver shortage is a problem that affects most fleet services across the country. Long-term drivers are aging into retirement and few young people enter the industry or stay for long. However, as industry trends like online shopping continue to grow, there will be increased need for truck drivers.

An aging workforce

The average truck driver is between the ages of 45 and 54, and has been driving for about two decades, according to Trucks.com. This age group comprises nearly 30 percent of the industry.

Meanwhile, millennials have become the most populous generation currently in the American workforce. But that hasn't translated to increased numbers of younger drivers. Twenty-something job hunters are often either passing by the trucking industry, or quickly exiting it.

As older drivers continue to retire (more than one-fourth of drivers is 55 or older), it's crucial that fleet services find a way to bring in new talent. The American Trucking Associations estimates that the industry will need to attract 89,000 new drivers a year to meet rising demand.

So, how can fleet managers bring on young Americans who seemingly want nothing to do with a long-term driving career?

Changing the message

One solution to the recruitment problem lies in the industry's messaging to new and potential employees, Bruce Jenkins, a millennial former driver who continues to work in the trucking industry in retention, told Overdrive Magazine.

Many young Americans view truck driving as boring, challenging, dirty, dangerous and lonely, Jenkins explained. These qualities aren't exactly desirable, but the industry needs to counter them. Companies can begin with their recruitment techniques.

Many "drivers wanted" ads are catered to industry veterans - experienced drivers who understand the industry. An outsider doesn't connect with these ads. Instead, fleet services need to use clear language and eye-catching colors that attract millennials.

Incentives need to spelled out in ways that make sense to people who don't know the terms "home time" or "dedicated miles" or the like. Show them the positives: As a driver, they can build a long-term satisfying career; they can see the country; they can learn new skills; they can gain confidence and independence.

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