In a post last week, GTS addressed the need for younger drivers to enter the trucking industry. However, companies struggle to attract the younger generation, commonly referred to as millennials (those born between 1980 – early 2000s). As the current driver population continues to age and retire, the demand for truck drivers is dramatically increasing. This leads to higher shipping costs, greater demand for truck space and provides the carriers with the upper hand, allowing them to be selective about what and where they ship. The carriers are being proactive, however. They have recognized the need to fill these positions and are pushing a change in mindset.
While most employers believe that those entering the workforce are self-entitled, inexperienced, lazy individuals, who want everything to be handed to them, this mindset is a dramatic stretch of the truth.
It is true that millennials are seeking work that has flexible hours, the availability to work from multiple locations, optimized work-life culture balance and most importantly, a secure, long-term position. But who doesn’t? The younger generation has seen their parents and grandparents work their tails off day in and day out to make their family’s lives easier. As a result, many millennials only seek white-collar work, believing that ‘blue-collar’ work is not profitable enough nor provides the opportunities they are seeking. However, just like how the new generation of workers carry the stigma of being self-entitled, blue-collar work is similarly misunderstood.
Ironically, when you compare what the trucking industry has to offer drivers and what millennials are seeking within a position, much of it aligns. Due to the high demand for drivers, carriers are willing to work with you to ensure you are happy within your role. As a driver, you are able to travel the country and see what America has to offer. In addition, the industry is becoming more catered to the drivers. Many carriers are installing tablets and other devices within their trucks to allow greater connectivity between drivers, their families and friends. Similarly, the cabs of the trucks are more high-tech and comfortable than the average car on the road today.
The carriers realized that they need to make necessary changes to attract younger drivers. First, they have become more flexible, allowing drivers to have more control over where and when they drive. They value the importance of family and strive to ensure ample time in between jobs to spend with family. Many are even installing tablets in the trucks to increase greater connectivity in hopes to reduce the stress of being away from loved ones and loneliness.
Drivers are in high demand which leads to competitive pay. Carriers realize that without drivers, they have nothing to offer and as a result are willing to pay for it. Likewise, there is a great deal of opportunity to quickly establish a career path within the industry and grow within an organization.
Trucking is a great way to achieve your dream and see the country in no other way. Carriers are stressing the ‘leisure-time message’ to young workers: if you like to take life easy, have the ability to spend time with those you love, and want to see the country, the trucking industry is a great alternative to a desk job.
Another mindset change comes with better understanding the components of the trucking industry. Although drivers are in high demand, there is a wide range of positions within the industry. Other roles include: driver supervisors, customer service representatives, warehouse workers, logistics and mechanics. The trucking industry has a great deal to offer and can be greatly rewarding.
In the end it comes down to what type of environment you are looking for. Individuals with positive, hard-working attitudes, who are looking for flexibility and to be their own boss, should consider trucking. There is unlimited opportunity to establish a solid and rewarding career that has an ‘office’ with an ever-changing view.
Below is an infographic from Commercial Driver School based in Washington that summarizes what the driver shortage means to you. For more information on how to become a driver, please visit their website.