One of the current challenges facing our customers is the driver shortage. Finding people who actually hold CDLs (commercial driver's license) is the short-term challenge, but finding people who WANT to pursue driving as a career option is the long-term challenge. We actually hear from some of our customers that they could pick up extra work and purchase additional equipment if they only had people to operate that equipment. In essence, the driver shortage is one of the impediments to company growth.
Discussions on how to improve driver recruitment have taken place for years, and many trade associations dedicate time and money to figuring out how to correct the problem. Countless dollars have been spent on researching the situation and suggesting ways to reverse the driver shortage trend.
Below are some of the strategies that are currently being employed to deal with the problem.
Access New Talent Pools
Women have not traditionally been seen in the driver’s seat of commercial truck vehicles. But that is beginning to change. The Women in Trucking organization and the Waste Management & Recycling Association’s Women's Council are encouraging women to work in the trucking industry and helping to remove barriers for them in the industry.
Veterans are known to have strong work ethics, which is always a good trait in an employee. Additionally, many veterans have worked on or around heavy equipment, which makes a transition to commercial equipment driving easier. If you search, you can find recruiters who specialize in matching and placing veterans, and there are programs designed specifically to help veterans earn their CDL.
A great number of industries are chasing the millennial workforce (people born between early ‘80s and late ‘90s) because of the sheer number of people in this age group. They are underrepresented in the current population of commercial drivers and therefore present an enormous opportunity. One of the keys to attracting them is to educate them on the possibilities a career in commercial trucking offers. You need to make sure you reach them on channels they frequent – social media is critical for this audience, and make sure your imagery adequately represents who they are and what they desire.
Use Non-traditional Recruiting Tactics
Social media, aside from LinkedIn, has not typically been a space where you can find job postings. But if one of your target audiences is a heavy user of social media, you should be recruiting through those channels.
Employee benefits are very important for millennials and women drivers, but there are a wide variety of available benefit packages. Compensation, time off, health insurance and flexible work time can all be part of the package you provide. Examine your benefits package and make sure you are offering the appropriate benefits to attract the type of driver you want. You may need to change your package based on the talent pool you seek.
While autonomous vehicles are currently only in the testing phase, at some point they are expected to make inroads in many markets, transportation and waste hauling included. Volvo is already testing a self-driving garbage truck, and a number of the major commercial truck manufacturers have prototypes built. At this point, none of the self-driving or autonomous commercial vehicles eliminate the need for human workers, but automating some of the tasks associated with commercial driving could reduce the number of workers needed.