Truck Driver Shortage: How Do We Fix It?
It’s no secret that truck drivers have been in high demand for a long time now. There has been an overall truck driver shortage for more than two decades. The trucking industry has struggled to recruit new drivers into the industry. Recent events have made that even harder. The COVID-19 pandemic is not helping the industry turn this around with DMV’s and commercial driver training schools closing down.
The main reasons for the driver shortage are:
- Increased freight volumes (pre-COVID-19)
- Increased safety regulations and tighter hiring criteria
- Aging truck driver population
- Struggle to attract people into the driving profession - especially women
How can we help solve this employment crisis? Let’s focus on the two areas of driver recruitment that we can control - communicating ways to attract younger, new people to the CDL-A driving profession and targeting a more diverse group of drivers.
Driving a truck for a living is hard work - but it is necessary work. If this pandemic has taught this industry anything, it is that truck drivers are essential workers. Performing a job that is critical to the well-being of the U.S. and its economy can give a lot of people something they rarely find in their career: Satisfaction. It’s these types of things we need to focus on in our recruitment strategy - not just pay, home time, and CDL requirements drivers are used to seeing on job boards and recruitment sites.
This is especially true for trying to attract new, younger people into the industry. The truck driver recruiting process has gotten repetitive and the usual buzzwords lack the spark to peak a potential new driver’s interest. Instead, focus on company values, employer branding, the positive driver experience, stability, satisfaction and respect that drivers deserve are what we need more of.
This is the perfect time to engage with the passive candidates who then may actively pursue an interest in the trucking industry after hearing how essential this profession is. With the power of social media and the ease of communication in today’s world, these are the types of things that make trucking companies stand out from others in the crowd.
As an industry, this is the perfect time to rethink our strategy. The country is watching during this trying time and our essential heroes are in the spotlight now more than ever. It’s important for carriers to show appreciation for their current drivers and reflect on how their drivers are positively impacting communities at this time. These types of messages will help their brand long-term.