How to Recruit Millennial and Gen-Z Drivers
There has long been a driver shortage in the United States. The American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates the current shortage around 80,000, a historic high for the industry. And it gets worse – the shortage may grow as high as 160,000 by 2030 if transportation companies don’t get creative and find ways to adapt to younger generations’ expectations and preferences in the workforce.
What do young drivers want?
Pay is understandably important to many drivers or would-be drivers. According to a study by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), 40% of young drivers ages 21-30 think pay is the most important factor when choosing a carrier. However, for a majority of these drivers, pay was not the most important. These drivers selected factors such as career stability, a passion for driving, work-life balance, travel, and the opportunity for new experiences.
These all point to a larger trend: younger generations are more interested in a company culture that aligns with their values, rather than just a job and a paycheck. In fact, in that same ATRI study, 84% of drivers said company culture is important to them.
Younger drivers are also interested in a career with opportunities for upward mobility into positions such as recruiting and driver management. They prefer a team environment over a competitive environment.
What are some ways to attract younger drivers?
- Keep your technology up-to-date. Younger drivers don’t want to onboard with stacks of paper. They don’t want to keep paper logs. Offer easy-to-use equipment and apps, and replace paper with digital and/or mobile-friendly onboarding and driving tools to make a great first impression on a younger driver. Also consider adding a chatbot to your website.
- Make your fleet environmentally-friendly. Millennials and Gen-Z drivers tend to care more about going green and being kind to the planet than older generations. Electric vehicles, going paperless, using technology to plan more efficient routes, and reducing idling are all ways to reduce impact on the environment.
- Utilize social media. Post regularly. Consider adding more videos, whether it’s a tour of the cab of a truck or a day-in-the-life from a driver. Make sure younger people are highlighted in social media posts and advertisements. Encourage drivers to post regularly and tag your organization (but not while driving!). Incentivize direct referrals from your current drivers posting on social media. Post your available positions on social websites such as LinkedIn, as well as recruiting websites like Indeed. Consider posting in popular driver forums. Respond to reviews, even the negative ones, with the goal of learning from your drivers to improve your program. Younger drivers are reading.
- Offer greater schedule flexibility. Younger drivers value more home time, and shorter routes – very few want to be away from home weeks at a time. Also, consider allowing home time anywhere so drivers can plan destination travel into their shift schedule.
- Begin recruiting in high school. Many companies miss out on drivers ages 18-20 due to the restriction on interstate commercial driving for those younger than 21. Potential pools of drivers spend these years fresh out of high school searching for a career, while trucking misses out. Encourage intrastate driving positions or training/internship programs where available, and recruit at high school recruiting events or career days.
- Encourage young drivers to learn the skill set. Many younger drivers will feel insecure about their ability to perform all the job tasks required of a driver – it can be overwhelming! Emphasize your available training, offer mentorship programs, and focus on accessibility for all new drivers.
- Increase transparency. Transparency is extremely important to younger drivers. From advertisements to pay to onboarding, be upfront and honest about what young drivers can expect from you and from the career.
The trucking industry is in a driver shortage hole that is only growing deeper. Employing these suggestions can help you get younger drivers in the door, and set them up for a lifelong career with your company.
Contact Driver iQ to learn about our innovative and seamless applicant experience to impress younger drivers and get them onboarded more quickly with your organization.
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