The transportation industry is generally known for its attractive salary and stability, but that doesn't mean it's a piece of cake for trucking companies to fill those vacant positions. These days, qualified candidates can afford to be picky, bringing employers new challenges to attract and keep drivers long-term. But that is just the tip of the iceberg, as many other obstacles appear, such as demographic changes, modern technologies, an unstable economy, etc. Trucking recruitment comes in waves of challenges in 2023, more than ever, with many new factors coming in.
Hiring & Retention: The Challenge Continues
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the trucking industry has encountered unparalleled instability due to labor shortages, disturbances in the global supply chain, and a surge in fuel prices. According to a recent survey, 53.5% of respondents from carriers and brokers identified hiring and retention as one of the significant obstacles heading into 2023.
Although carriers anticipate experiencing more employee turnover than brokers, this issue is not limited to drivers alone. Based on aggregated product usage data, broker firms grapple with retention concerns across all roles, including sales and back-office positions.
While the hiring challenge has been here for years in the trucking market, it seems that now it's expanding even further to other trucking-related sectors.
Statistics & Study Findings
Numerous studies dig behind the trucking industry scenes to fully unveil and understand the situation behind recruitment difficulties. Some trucking industry leaders revealed the biggest recruiting challenges and trends from various fleet types and sizes:
· Lack of Applicants: Around half of the recruiters shared that the number of applications they receive is insufficient to meet their hiring goals.
· Social Recruitment: Almost 100% of recruiters agree that social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are essential tools for trucking recruitment which are still not used efficiently enough.
· Unqualified Candidates: More than 70% of recruiters reported that most of the applicants received were not qualified for the job as candidate qualification in the trucking industry goes way beyond the driver's license.
The Key Challenges in Trucking Recruitment Hiring
One of the main reasons for this is the shortage of qualifications. The industry is facing a demographic shift, with many older drivers retiring and fewer younger drivers entering the workforce to replace them. Additionally, the truck driver job can be demanding, with extended hours and time away from home, making it less appealing to many potential candidates.
Another factor contributing to the hiring problems in the trucking industry is the increasing competition for labor from other sectors.
The rebounding economy is creating more job opportunities in different sectors, making it difficult for trucking companies to attract and retain qualified drivers.
New Hiring Strategies in 2023 & Beyond
As the trucking industry continues to deal with labor shortages and hiring challenges, transportation companies have been using various recruitment strategies & new approaches in their company environment.
Recent surveys found that employers willing to reward their employees more flexibly tend to earn greater loyalty, especially from millennial workers. Organizations that implemented such tactics had a positive impact on their financial performance.
Wellness & Driver's Health
Trucking companies also started using new strategies such as wellness more and more since around 2018. And this is still one of the main ways to appeal to more younger workers and combat the perception that long-haul trucking is an unhealthy job with high rates of obesity across the industry.
Positive Company Culture
According to a recent report by WorkHound, negative themes in the trucking industry include communication, pay, and logistics. On the other hand, positive themes include praise, people, and home time, with 24% of feedback focused on recognition.
WorkHound's co-founder and CEO, Max Farrell, notes that the trucking industry faces inflationary pressures, high fuel prices, and supply chain disruptions. Coupled with the long hours and stressful working conditions of truck driving, burnout, and turnover rates are at an all-time high. As carrier companies strive to retain their employees, successful hiring has become a top priority.