Over the last few years, logistic specialists have been closely watching the declining trend of drivers pursuing a career in the trucking industry, with growing concern. Data shows that with the average truck driver now entering into their mid-fifties and planning for retirement, it’s estimated that there could be a shortage of 200,000 drivers in North America by the year 2020. As the trucking industry continues to develop, adopt new technologies and grow, there is more focus than ever to attract new talent and increase interest in a career in trucking.
The lack of new drivers entering the industry isn’t necessarily because potential candidates are unaware of the careers that are available in the logistics sector, but rather it is due to the fact they are not adequately informed about them. Due to misconceptions of this sector as well as limited resources, individuals could be misinformed about what a career as a driver looks like and the benefits involved. It’s time for the trucking industry to change these misconceptions. Here’s how.
Just like any profession, trucking requires hours of training, development and additional education. One issue that many have encountered while trying to enter into the industry, however, is that it’s difficult to get one step in the door. While drivers can pass all of the necessary tests, many companies are choosing to only hire drivers with ample experience, decreasing the hiring of individuals who have limited or no experience. The Quebec government has done a great job in trying to reverse this problem over the past few years, however. The government has partnered with companies to introduce internship programs for those looking to become commercial drivers. Not only are young drivers able to gain experience, but they are finding work with companies after their internship has come to an end in an industry that they are passionate about.
Share The Positives
In trucking, there are many opportunities and advantages that are not always publicized, but that should be shared with those who are looking at entering into the industry! Whether that is through sharing content on blogs and social media, or by word of mouth, there is no better way to reveal the incredible aspects of the trucking industry than by hearing from those who have developed a career in this field specifically.
For many, the ability to travel plays a large role in their love and appreciation for their career as a truck driver. While on a route, drivers are able to discover and learn more about North America, as they travel the highways and stop off at towns, cities, states, and provinces that they may have never been to. For many, an experience like this can’t compare to an office position of set hours for five days a week.
Job security is another positive that many people do not necessarily think of when they first consider a career in trucking. The fact is, the trucking industry is one that will continue to grow for years to come, as goods and commodities need to be transported across the country. As trucks remain to be the main mode of transportation used within North America to distribute goods, work is available to anyone who’s willing to enter into this sector.
While high school students prepare for their final year of school, there is one question that is on their mind; what are they going to do for work? Whether they are looking to pursue an education or enter the workforce right away, this is a question that must be answered as they meet with companies, attend job and university fairs, and research careers that match their interests.
Many trucking companies are recognizing that this is the time to share with students the benefits of working within the trucking industry, as they are in the process of researching education programs and the skills that they will need to acquire.
In March of this year, it was stated by Jacquie Latham, a consultant for the Ontario School Counsellors Association, that “Students have no perception of the industry as they have no real knowledge of it.” This means that companies who are looking to hire additional drivers need to start communicating with the youth of today to change their preconceived notions of the industry and share the incredible benefits that a career in trucking can bring.
One obstacle that needs to be resolved, however, is that due to the average graduate being eighteen years old, they are unable to enter into a career straight out of school because of their age. In fact, many companies will not look at hiring individuals until they are in their mid-twenties. A gap now exists between the time that students graduate and the time that they can be hired, which leaves them turning away from the industry altogether. It will be interesting to see if mentorship and internship programs will help newcomers to the field maintain an interest in this sector while they wait to become of age.
Chuck Snow, the founder and CEO of TRAFFIX, recently traveled to Dallas, Texas for a truck show and saw this issue first hand. The young drivers who were in attendance, which did not add up to many, worked for companies locally as it attributed to them maintaining a healthy work/ life balance. As Chuck spoke with them, this was one of the main aspects of their career that they wanted to maintain.
On the other hand, however, Chuck spoke with drivers who had been in the business for years, and who expressed a deep love for the open road. Many of them, however, have less than five working years left before retirement.
The trucking industry has several obstacles to overcome to prevent the driver shortage from increasing over the next few years. While it is understandable that long-distance trucking is a challenging career, it holds many benefits which need to be shared about publicly. Technology is already helping to keep people connected while they are on the road, but a focus on maintaining a healthy work/ life balance will be crucial in resolving this issue for those thinking of entering the industry.
The trucking industry is one that is complex, rewarding, and integral to the North American economy. It is time that youth are made aware of the benefits of a career in the logistics field so that they can develop the skills that they need to be able to enter into a sector that is sure to witness a major boom in the years to come.