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Truck driver recruiting: tips and challenges

Truck driver recruiting: tips and challenges

Despite record wages and job stability within the transportation industry, many companies are finding it extremely difficult to fill their open jobs. Qualified candidates can afford to be picky, which means employers need to work hard to attract them and keep them happy.

Demographic changes and long-standing assumptions about the transport industry can make it difficult for transportation companies to recruit the employees they need. Here’s an overview of the situation and how employers are improving their truck driver recruiting efforts.

Trucking hit by the retirement tsunami

According to research published by the American Trucking Association (ATA), the industry will need to hire almost a million new drivers by 2024. Retirements are the main reason. More than 13 million people work in transportation, and the Department of Transportation says almost half will be eligible for retirement by 2024, including large numbers of older truck drivers. The ATA also points to companies adding more trucks to their fleets as the economy grows.

“CDL class A over-the-road drivers are probably the hardest drivers to find right now,” says Scott McNiel, marketing manager at E.L. Hollingsworth & Co. With the large number of open positions available, it’s easy for skilled drivers to hop from job to job in search of better pay and conditions.

One of the main ways transportation companies can improve truck driver recruiting is through strong compensation packages, McNiel says. Offering pay increases, comprehensive benefits, and signing bonuses is key.

Coping with an image problem

The transportation industry also faces several other challenges, including a low public image. Additionally, long hours and lots of time spent away from home are required in many transportation jobs, and that can pose a challenge to hiring.

McNiel agrees, saying the industry’s image needs a makeover and that corporate culture needs to shift to better source truck drivers. The ATA, for example, works to boost trucking’s image in particular.

The DOL found that inadequate access to non-traditional labor pools such as women, veterans, and people with disabilities were also problems. Providing a strong work-life balance for employees can be a good way to start changing the culture, McNiel says.

Connecting with millennials

Millennials tend to not consider skilled trades as career opportunities, which can make it harder for employers to recruit for those positions, especially as millennials and Gen Y take over the workforce. McNiel says transportation companies are having a difficult time reaching younger workers, and that members of Gen X are finding work in other industries.

It’s vital that companies get the word out about the opportunities they can offer to young employees. Todd Berger, president and CEO of Redwood Logistics, says his company recruits college graduates heavily on college campuses and attends college job fairs, looking for top talent among college graduates.

According to PwC’s Next Gen study, millennial employees expect to work as part of a team, and enjoy doing so. Berger says his company stresses this when recruiting. “The most successful transportation and logistics companies make maximum use of teams and there is no room for ego or self-serving behavior. Employees have to be enlisted in teams they want to join and where they can be effective,” Berger says.

Berger says his company looks carefully at soft skills such as attitude and personality, as well as hard skills. The company screens for work ethic as well, trying to assess if the candidate will go above and beyond for customers.

Additional truck driver recruiting resources

With the high rate of retirement, public image challenges, and lack of interest among the younger workforce, recruiting truck drivers can seem like an impossible task at times. But with better messaging, competitive compensation packages, and targeting non-traditional candidates, the job can be more manageable. Get additional help and resources by signing up for Monster Hiring Solutions, where you’ll receive expert recruiting advice and the latest hiring trends.