If you’re reading this you already know the problem: the driver shortage will remain an ongoing challenge for those operating fleets over the next decade. And, industry demographics don’t offer any sign of relief.
The average age of today’s driver is 49 and rising. Finding qualified drivers is a serious challenge. ATA’s 2015 Driver Shortage Analysis compiled by Bob Costello reports that “88% of fleets said that most applicants were simply not qualified.” While employment levels and wages have remained stable overall and the turnover has recently dropped, these trends do nothing to mitigate the future impact on an industry with an aging labor force, a dearth of young people interested in replacing them and a lack of qualified drivers.
For smart fleets, creating and maintaining a pipeline of future drivers is an imperative for success. There are two pools to draw from, current drivers and future drivers. While the following list features tips on creating future drivers for your own fleet, most of the points are also relevant for attracting current drivers:
- Make your company a desirable place for people to work. Are you competitive when it comes to work/life balance, consistent earnings and home time and offering a career path? Millennials are now the majority of today’s workforce, which means they are the future of your workforce. Their attitudes, expectations and priorities regarding employment and careers are different from Boomers and Gen Xers, and your company needs to attract them to develop a sustainable pipeline of future drivers.
- Are your marketing materials aimed at the “get the job done” generation, or the generation that has never owned a landline? Millennials learn about industries and companies from social media, not print. Use social media effectively to tell your story with videos aimed at a diverse audience, including women. Make sure your website is mobile friendly and that your marketing tells your company’s story effectively.
- Create drivers by creating a path to reach your company. Partner with quality driving schools. Offer tuition reimbursement to your current employees and placement programs for recent grads.
- Hire young people in non-driving roles (stockers, laborers) to entice recent high school grads and offer part-time schedules to lure students who haven’t decided on a career path. Partner them with a driver as a mentor.
- Share the possibilities of a driving career with people who need opportunities. With the entry level age at 18 for intrastate driving, think about networking with local organizations that attract a younger, of-age, clientele like Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Consider the YMCA and YWCA, vocational schools, re-entry and court diversion programs. Establishing community connections can lead to word-of-mouth referrals.
- When you find a good prospect, help them obtain their CDL through financial assistance. For many, especially younger people and those in need of opportunity, the cost of training is a prohibitive obstacle. Remove it and create a loyal driver. Then, put your new driver to work on the road for your company.
A Closer Look
Driver Openings (as of June 2016): 48,000
2016 Median Driver Hourly Wage (Heavy Duty & Tractor-Trailer): $19.87
2016 Median Driver Annual Wage: $41,340
# of Canadian Truck Drivers: 227,000
# of American Truck Drivers: 3.5 million
10-Year Job Outlook Thru 2024: +5%
Explore driver management and recruitment tools that can help you prevent a driver shortage in your company. Contact us today.