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3 Trends Driving Transportation Recruiting in 2020

Allison London

Driverless trucks may one day rule the roads, but that time isn’t here yet. 

Over the next decade, the transportation industry will need to hire roughly 1.1 million new drivers, or an average of nearly 110,000 per year, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA).

The shortage of talent pushes recruiters at transportation companies to raise their game. That means following recruiting best practices, using technology wisely and offering better pay and benefits to workers.

Three trends will shape transportation recruiting this year and beyond. Companies that can harness and adapt to these market forces will enhance their recruiting efforts and outperform their competitors.

Companies Will Continue to Expand the Talent Pool

The average age of an over-the-road truck driver is 46, according to the ATA. In other sectors of transportation, the average driver age is even higher. Transportation companies have reacted to the aging pool of candidates by trying to recruit more young people, women and former military personnel. 

Less regulation could increase the number of young candidates. The industry has supported the bipartisan DRIVE-Safe Act that would remove federal regulatory barriers to allow people as young as 18 years old to drive heavy-duty trucks in interstate commerce.

“Providing this workforce development opportunity for young drivers will lead to more comprehensive training, expanded career options and access to higher-paying jobs,” said U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, when he co-sponsored the bill introduced by U.S. Sen. Todd Young, a Republican from Indiana, last year.

Some young drivers with military experience are already working for interstate trucking companies. Last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration launched a three-year pilot program that allows companies to hire drivers 18 to 20 years old who possess the U.S. military equivalent of a commercial driver’s license. After the three years are up, the records of these young drivers will be compared to the records of a control group of drivers to determine whether age is a critical safety factor.

Meanwhile, women remain underrepresented in the transportation industry and should be a prime target for savvy recruiters. Less than 7% of truck drivers are women, according to the ATA, and that percentage has only increased slightly from roughly 4% in 2000. The lack of women in the transportation industry is even more frustrating because women truck drivers tend to be safer than their male colleagues. Women outperform men in every statistically significant driving behavior examined by the American Transportation Research Institute, which found male truck drivers were involved in 20% more crashes than the female drivers.

Social Media and Mobile Devices Will Matter More

Having a great company website or a strong presence on LinkedIn won’t cut it. Nearly two-thirds of truckers use Facebook, compared to only 14% on LinkedIn, according to a 2019 survey by Truckers News.

Focusing on a social network that potential employees actually use can increase the visibility of your brand, allow you to screen candidates easier and may reduce hiring costs compared to traditional methods of recruitment.

Don’t drop the ball once candidates apply. Transportation companies will need to have a mobile-first application or they risk losing qualified people. Glassdoor, an employer reviews website, found that roles where workers spend less time in front of a computer are more likely to have mobile job seekers. In fact, 74% of truck driver applicants are applying on a mobile device, the third-highest share of Mobile Job Seekers among occupations that Glassdoor studied.

Compensation and Benefits Will Rise

Since 2018, most fleets have instituted significant pay increases to keep their drivers from switching jobs, according to ATA. 

Transportation companies will continue to lure drivers away from other carriers with sign-on bonuses, higher pay, newer trucks and better equipment. But it’s not just about more pay. Many transportation companies provide guaranteed minimum weekly pay, so that the drivers would have a more consistent paycheck. 

Drivers appreciate a regular paycheck, but transportation companies and recruiters could do much better. Instead of paying workers on the first and the 15th of the month, a legacy business practice from the early 1900s, companies could make every day a payday with GoDo.

GoDo, which is 100% free to employers and employees, allows truckers to gain access to their earned pay on demand daily through the GoDo mobile app. GoDo is easy to use for the next generation of drivers, it’s geared to the growing number of mobile-friendly truckers, and it can be a no-cost benefit that differentiates your company in a tight labor market.  

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