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GTS Blog

State of Trucking: Retiring Baby Boomers & Indifferent Millennials

Posted by Ascent Global Logistics on Mar 29, 2017 4:29:48 PM

The trucking industry has been facing a steady decline of available truck drivers. Much of this is caused by the fact that current truckers are baby boomers, set to retire soon.

With the increase of U.S. manufacturing, how will America make up the gap if millennials aren’t interested in trucking as a career and baby boomers have negative perception of them? Simple supply and demand equates to a rise in commodities meaning a rise in needs for truck drivers. All the current buzz about the U.S. manufacturing revival begs the question: can trucking keep up?

iStock-520703819.jpgAttracting millennials to trucking is a critical to keeping a steady supply of drivers in the industry. Below are a few more ways trucking firms are trying to attract millennials:

-       Make it about “experience

-       Emphasize a purpose

-       Tie in causes

-       Provide a strong feedback loop

-       Include more rotations

-       Afford more opportunities for growth

-       Adapt to cloud-based technology

-       Keep an “always on” mentality with TMS

-       Make data visible across all streams of the transport progress

-       Collaborate via social networks already in use

Half of millennials say they prefer flexible working hours and the ability to work from several locations to support a “work/life balance.” Increasing driver wages and emphasizing “leisure time” are two tactics firms have been using to entice millennials.

Despite the indifference of many millennials toward this industry, did you know that truck drivers and driver/sales employees make up one of the largest occupations in America? In 2008, they held 3.2 million jobs! Half of all truck drivers fit in the demographic of white male between the ages of 35-54. This group of drivers was projected to decline by 3 million between 2004 and 2014.

Right now -- between 2015 and 2020 -- is when the largest projected “exodus” of drivers will take place.

The group that makes up half of trucking’s demographics is now between 45-65; the prime time for truckers to think about retiring. Unfortunately, truck drivers generally provide a smaller threshold of labor, since other occupations can allow for workers to continue into their 60s or 70s. That’s not safe or practical for truck drivers. Some say the shortage of drivers will reach 100,000 by 2016.

Others would say the driver loss due to retirement is exaggerated. One study showed that about 75% of truckers eligible for retirement are willing to continue working, and not just for financial reasons. Many people choose to continue working to stay mentally, physically and socially active.

What do you think, is the driver shortage accurate or over-exaggerated? What can firms do to attract millennials? Leave a comment below.

Topics: Trucking