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Millennials. No staying power, no backbone, and totally unsuited to the tough job of trucking.
The fact is, millennials are smarter, harder workers than many like to think. And they’re now the largest generation working or looking for work. Plus, as well as coming with generous pay and flexible hours, it's the perfect gig for young explorers. This article calls it: "the ultimate hack. You’re basically a freelancer getting paid to tour the country." So why isn’t the trucking industry drawing from this rich pool to solve the growing trucker shortage?
Mainly because they don't know how.
"The reality is, this industry has a place for everyone"
Most truck companies acknowledge they need to hire millennials, but aren't sure how to speak to this audience, or what they respond to. Especially because, with the average trucker now 55 years old, this profession has a hard-to-shake stereotype of being only for older people.
Education also plays a part. “Most millennials don't know that trucking is truly a young person’s field,” says Jackie Rocha co-founder of the blog Millennials in Trucking. “Unfortunately,” she says, “the trucking industry isn't shown as a career path, and is usually seen as a ‘job’ instead of a lifelong career.”
So how should you change perceptions and start to attract this mysterious breed of human?
Rocha advises fleet managers to be transparent at all times: “Our generation values honesty,” she says, “so the more transparency they see in trucking companies, the more likely they will be to seek a position with that company.”
Better transparency could improve retention rates, too. According to several publications including Fortune, the Harvard Business Review and Forbes, feedback and coaching are paramount for millennials in the workplace.
As is open dialogue. She suggests starting a mentorship program and encouraging regular communication and check-ins using company messaging apps, social media groups and more – direct channels which also help to ensure good safety practices.
Want to fill these with the youth of today? Read these 8 handy tips for hiring millennials as truck drivers.
Beyond the people, technology is busy improving quality of life within the trucking industry, from recruitment and retention to on-the-road safety. And there's nothing like some cutting-edge tech to catch a millennial's eye.
“As the industry grows, it's becoming more advanced with technology,” says Rocha. “This will surely aid in the recruitment and retention of our younger generation, as it's making us more efficient in our day-to-day work.”
Plus, millennials are considered the first “digital natives.” They expect (and rely on) the latest tech solutions – from the recruiting process, to training, and beyond – spanning their entire career, whether sitting in an office or an 18-wheeler.
Feeling safe on the job is another deciding factor for millennials. This is one of the biggest areas where technology can make an impact and actively help promote change within the industry. Using real-time, cutting-edge location intelligence to optimize routes would not only be welcomed, but expected.
Drivers would also benefit from accurate and reliable turn-by-turn navigation from HERE. This guides them seamlessly to the nearest truck stop, actively reports on the truck’s location and enables drivers to easily comply with regulations.
“We really need to be more diligent on teaching our future generations the world of trucking,” says Rocha. “The reality is, this industry has a place for everyone.”
And if you're convinced, there's now even a trucking driving doll you can gift your children to give them an early start.