Demand in the trucking industry is still growing, yet the driver shortage is also increasing. One of the biggest obstacles facing carriers is driver retention, especially with new recruits. With more career drivers reaching retirement age, and the workforce diversifying with more women, minorities, and young people getting CDLs, carriers need to take a different approach. To successfully recruit and retain drivers, trucking companies might want to consider the following strategies.
1. Trucking is not “just a job”
For many younger people, they have witnessed drastic economic shifts. Between the pandemic, high unemployment rates in the years prior to COVID-19, and more, they are used to experiencing furloughs and downsizing. Because of this, they have never put much stock in long-term jobs, instead taking work anywhere they can get it and hoping for the best. Carriers need to present trucking as a career path, not just a job. Show how trucking is the foundation for the economy and play up the importance of the person behind the wheel.
2. Enhanced trade skills
In addition to presenting trucking as a career and not a job, carriers need to emphasize the critical skills that driving offers. Trucking is much more than going from point A to point B. From logistics to plotting routes, calculating fuel efficiency, loading, time management, and more, trucking teaches drivers a number of critical skills that will always be in demand.
3. Place a focus on technology
For many Millennial and Gen Z jobseekers, the biggest reason they rarely stay at one place is that employers do not fully utilize technology. Remember, new drivers grew up with the internet. They went to schools where technology was fully-integrated. Show off how technology is used in trucking – from ELDs to GPS, mobile freight factoring, and more. As technology-resistant drivers retire or move to different jobs, hiring tech-focused drivers can be a benefit to carriers.
4. Know how to reach your future driver pool
Ads for careers in trucking used to be all over the place in magazines, television commercials, radio spots, and newspapers. Those media platforms are outmoded. The best way to recruit is through social media, video ads embedded in YouTube and streaming platforms, audio spots on podcasts, and more. Embrace digital marketing and stop relying on traditional methods to reach new drivers. At the other end of the scale, talk with your veteran drivers. They may know a young relative who is looking for a new career. Some carriers have even gone so far as to offer bonuses and other incentives for successful direct referrals.
5. Place an emphasis on pay and benefits
A lot of new drivers are coming from a gig economy, and are not looking for something stable without lowering their quality of living. Trucking companies need to emphasize pay rates, opportunities for raises, bonuses, and advancement, plus any other benefits that could appeal to new drivers who are looking for stable careers.
6. Revise brochures, training videos, and other materials
No one wants to be onboarded with a series of VHS tapes depicting out of date methods and people that new drivers cannot relate to in any way. A recruitment drive is an opportunity for carriers to update their promotional materials. Are you looking for younger drivers? Then use younger drivers in your videos. Is your recruitment pool diverse? Then reflect that in your videos and brochures. Represent the business culture you want to have in the materials you present to recruits. If your company is still using pre-pandemic or pre-ELD materials that do not show the changes in practices, technology, standards, or compliance, you are essentially misrepresenting the industry to recruits, and doing your own business a disservice. Solid and up to date training materials will attract better drivers.
Single Point Capital offers a startup program for owner-operators that want to launch their own trucking companies and recruit drivers. We help get all the paperwork filled out and filed correctly, and we will even waive the administrative fees for people who use our freight factoring services. Beyond the paperwork, our team will also provide the guidance you need to ensure a successful launch. To learn more, reach out to the experts at Single Point Capital today.