Researcher: Industry Must ‘Shift’ to Attract Next Gen Workers

Young workers have mixed feelings about the trucking industry and employers have a lot of work to do if they want to attract the next generation of workers, says David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data, during a presentation at the Manitoba Trucking Association’s (MTA) 87th annual AGM in Winnipeg.

As reported by Truck News, Coletto revealed research that found several labour challenges facing the industry, particularly involving the millennial generation and their willingness to enter trucking as a career choice.

Abacus’ research found that 16% of men and 7% of women would strongly consider a career in trucking, while 29% of men and 62% of women would not even entertain the idea.

Coletto pointed out that though these numbers seem low, with the number of millennial workers in Canada now the highest of any generation, having passed baby boomers in 2015 and numbering 9.5 million, they offer a large number of potential workers to the industry.

“This is the most ethnically and culturally diverse generation ever,” said Coletto. ““Most millennials are over the age of 25 and looking to achieve all those life goals.”

With the average age of those in trucking now at 55, and only 15% under the age of 30, Coletto said the industry must change its approach to how it recruits young workers.

“Doing the same thing over and over and getting the same optimal result is not going to work,” he said.

Coletto highlighted a strategy he called “shift,” which pinpoints what he believes carriers must understand in order to help attract more millennials to their workplace.

Coletto said “shift” means that millennials are “self-educators” and image driven; “hopeful” but increasingly anxious; require “impact” and passion in a career; need “feedback” that is personal and customized; and look for “transparency” and control in an employer.

Image is substantial for younger generations when choosing a career, according to Coletto, who said millennials will ask themselves, “If I work in trucking, what does that say about who I am?”

Data collected by Abacus suggests today’s youth have mixed feelings about the trucking industry.

Fifteen percent say they have a bad or very bad perception of trucking, while 40% is neither good nor bad, and 46% is good or very good.

Compared to trucking’s biggest competitor in the recruitment of millennial workers, 68% have a good or very good view of the construction industry while only 5% negative.

“You have to start telling your story much better,” Coletto said, encouraging the industry to get positive stories out to the masses, “and you have to change where you tell that story.”

Building what he called a “millennial-friendly sector” is key to achieving this goal, which includes companies outlining their intentions and purpose, being open and seamless, and providing constant feedback to employees.

“This is not a lost cause, it’s not over,” Coletto said, “but you really have some work to do.”

Angela Splinter, CEO of Trucking HR Canada, added that in 2017, also spoke, adding that the industry must ensure it is diversifying, including attracting more women, millennials, and Indigenous workers, all of which are large employment pools not well represented in trucking.

Splinter said Trucking HR Canada’s largest current initiative is researching where the shortages are in the industry, and one component of that research is millennials.

“We need to tackle this,” she said, “because we don’t have young people coming into our industry.”

Full Truck News article here.

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