Factoring Generations Into Your Recruiting

How often do you take age into account when building a recruiting strategy? When focusing on getting qualified drivers who meet both your fleet’s requirements and your criteria for an ideal driver, it’s easy to forget that your messaging is reaching different generations. How does this affect your fleet? There are drivers out there who are a good fit for your fleet but are ignoring your recruiting because it does not appeal to their generation.

If you take a close look at each generation, you learn they consume content in different ways. This comes into play with what platforms you use for your recruiting. Different generations have different motivations. So your messaging has to speak to those motivations to get their attention.

So how can you get your recruiting to appeal to the generations of your prospective drivers? Firstly, you need to know what generations they fall into. So let’s take a look at the different types.

Generation Breakdown

Generation Breakdown

  • Traditionalists or Silent Generation: Born 1928 – 1925 (Early 70s and above)
  • Baby Boomers: Born 1946 – 1964 (Mid 50s – Early 70s)
  • Generation X: Born 1965 – 1976 (Early 40s – Mid 50s)
  • Millennials or Generation Y: Born 1977 – 1995 (Early 20s – Early 40s)
  • Centennials, Generation Z, or iGeneration: Born 1996 – TBD (Early 20s and below)

Age Range of Owner-Operators

55 or older — 62%
35 to 54 — 36%
21 to 34 — 2%

Age Range of Company Drivers

55 or older — 64%
35 to 54 — 34%
21 to 34 — 2%

According to our research above, the drivers you are most likely to recruit fall into the baby boomer generation, Generation X, and Millenials/Generation Y. So here’s what you need to know about each of these generations.

Baby Boomers

 
Our research tells us the average age for both company drivers and owner-operators is 56, which makes it likely the majority of your drivers will come from the baby boomer generation. Here are a few characteristics common to this generation:

  • Hardworking
  • Goal-oriented
  • Competitive
  • Want to make a Difference
  • Team/relationship oriented

How to Tailor Your Messaging to Them

Baby boomers were raised in the time of the Vietnam War, Civil Rights Movement, and Woodstock. It’s an interesting combination of events that emphasized freedom, individualism, and the ability to make a difference. Those are not ideals one forgets over time.

So to reach baby boomers, your messaging needs to stress the importance of the truck driver role while communicating what your fleet can do to remove any of the usual roadblocks a driver faces in the industry. Your messaging also needs to be personalized to show you are searching for the individual driver, not just advertising to the masses.

How to Connect with Them

They were raised in a time where technology was nowhere near as pronounced as it is now. So there was a greater dependence on face-to-face communication and phone calls. As time passed, they did become well-versed in technology. So you can introduce your fleet through online platforms like job boards, search engines, display networks, and emails but you need to prioritize human interaction with phone calls, referral programs, and even meeting prospective drivers at trade shows.

Generation X

 
This generation makes up the second highest percentage of drivers out there. Here are a few of their common characteristics:

  • Independent
  • Adaptable
  • Self-Sufficient
  • Put a high level of importance on education
  • Have a strong work-life balance

How to Tailor Your Messaging to Them

This generation was raised in a time where there was a breakdown in government (e.g. Watergate) and family (due to previous baby boomer generation being workaholics), which called for the need to be self-sufficient, independent, and to strive for work-life balance.

This generation asks “what’s in it for them?” This makes the likes of pay and hometime very important but also brings up the need to mention any other offerings your fleet has that can better those in this generation as human beings e.g. health care, gym memberships, etc.

How to Connect with Them

This generation is more technologically savvy than the prior generation but still value interpersonal skills. So it helps to balance online platforms (e.g. search engines, job boards, and social media) and one-on-one interaction through phone calls and face-to-face.

Millennials

 
These may make up a lower percentage of drivers in the industry but with the baby boomer generation reaching retirement age, the need to pull from younger generations is rising. Here are some characteristics of millennials you need to know:

  • Technology lovers
  • Solve problems using technology
  • Transparency
  • Want recognition
  • Want to make an impact

How to Tailor Your Messaging to Them

Millennials were raised during the rise of the internet. So you have those who got their first non-internet enabled cell phone in their senior year of high school and those in the later years who never knew life without smartphones. Thanks to the internet, they were the first to experience having information at their fingertips, thereby getting used to quick and straight to the point information.

This means that if your messaging does not quickly communicate its point, you are at risk of being overlooked. Also, consider that 92% of Millennials own smartphones, in comparison to the 85% of Generation X and 67% of Baby Boomers. So expect them to be viewing your messaging on a smartphone. This calls for mobile-friendliness.

How to Connect with Them

This generation is often accused of having no interpersonal skills due their strong dependence on technology. So your best bet at getting their attention is through online platforms. They also have the second highest social media presence of all age groups. So connect with them through online platforms with social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter at the forefront.

Centinnials (Possibly)

 
To consider centennials is to take a more proactive look at recruiting. With the DRIVE-Safe Act—which will allow 18-year-olds with CDLs to drive commercial vehicles across state lines—possibly coming into play, it will create the opportunity for you to recruit drivers in this generation.

If that opportunity ever arises, an important tip to remember is centennials are the one generation who have never known life without social media and smartphones. So it’s an understatement to say technology is important to them. Mobile-friendliness and reaching out on the latest social media platforms are key.

With the driver recruiting industry being so competitive, it is important to look for new and innovative ways to reach prospective drivers. Factoring generations into your recruiting adds another dimension to your targeting that will help you grab the right driver’s attention.
 

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