As each year passes, more and more qualified and experienced drivers are approaching retirement. The industry has been hit with a shortage that is being exacerbated by truckers leaving the industry at a higher rate than they can be replaced. According to the ATA’s Truck Driver Shortage Analysis From 2015 (PDF), the average age of truckers is now 49.
Where can fleets look to replenish their thinning driver numbers?
We’ve covered the possibility of focusing on female drivers in, Could Women Be the Answer to the Driver Shortage? Another potential resource fleets could attempt to tap into is the millennial generation. According to GenHQ, a millennial is anyone born between the years of 1977-1995. The millennial generation currently makes up a very small portion of the truck driver workforce. At this time only 20% of the total driver force is made up of those between the ages of 20 to 34.
Just as every generation that has come before them, they view, live, and interact with the world differently than their parents or grandparents. Many have written them off as fickle, spoiled, or entitled, but that view is based on a misunderstanding of their values.
To get a better understanding of this generation and what makes them tick, Overdrive’s Senior Editor, Todd Dills, spoke to a millennial employed in a non-driving capacity by a fleet. Dills reflects on just how different the millennial generation is. The way they were raised was vastly different than previous generations. Their experiences and values differ wildly from that of their parents and grandparents. For the full rundown of what Dills learned you can check out Read This if You Want to Recruit Millennials.
In short, they are not like the traditional drivers recruiters have dealt with in the past, and that can make the prospect of pursuing them seem daunting. But it is absolutely crucial that fleets strive to get millennials on board.
The millennial generation now makes up a majority of the United States work force. They officially overtook “Gen Xer’s” (those born 1965-1976) in early 2015.
But in order to effectively recruit the millennial generation you have to first know what makes them tick.
What is important to the millennial generation?
Growing up with world altering technology at their fingertips in times of uncertain change has shaped the worldview and preferences of millennials. The Deloitte Millennial Survey of 2017 tried to figure out exactly what this generation is all about.
Millennials Value Directness and Honesty
Whether you are referring to the political or the business arena, millennials seem to agree that using plain language is what they desire from leaders. With 66% of those polled approving of and preferring plain and honest talk from business leaders.
What Does That Mean for Recruiters?
When it comes down to it, open and honest communication almost always plays a major role in successful recruiting. Not only is this important in the actual recruiting process, but in overall driver retention. What good is it to recruit a driver that turns around and leaves right away because they feel they weren’t dealt with honestly?
Straight-forward talk is exactly what an entire generation is looking for, and recruiters can use this to their advantage. Millennials don’t want fancy talk or empty promises. They would much rather have direct, straight-forward, and honest talk so that they can make the best informed decision possible.
You can build trust with drivers, not just millennials, by admitting to the challenges they’ll face. It’s less honest to pretend everything will be perfect once they drive for your fleet.
Millennials View Business as a Platform for Positive Change
What may come as a surprise to some is the fact that millennials tend to be very supportive of and consider themselves “pro-business.” With 76% of those polled viewing business as a force for positive social impact.
What Does That Mean for Recruiters?
Many fleets now participate in community outreach programs or donate time and money to charitable organizations. Highlight the ways the business contributes in these areas. Showing that your fleet is part of a responsible business that actively engages with and gives back to the community can be very attractive to a potential millennial recruit.
Millennials Prefer the Flexibility of Freelance Work, But Crave Stability
Just last year 55 million Americans performed some sort of freelance work, and 43% of millennials freelanced last year. It’s not that hard to see why so many have chosen to pursue this route.
Perceived Benefits of Freelance Work
- Flexibility of Schedule – Being able to take preferred jobs and pick and choose the hours you work.
- Long-term Freedom – Freelance allows you to take any time you like, provided you’ve saved enough money along the way.
- Being Able to Work Only the Jobs You Want – Don’t like a job assignment? Not a problem in the world of freelancing. If you don’t like the sound of a job, you don’t have to take it.
What Does That Mean for Recruiters?
Seemingly the entire millennial generation is yearning for a certain amount of freedom. However, they also crave the stability provided by full time jobs when it comes to choosing an occupation. The trucking industry is in a unique position to offer both. Being a trucker has always offered a certain level of freedom that is unparalleled by any other industry.
No dress codes (in most cases), no forced office interactions, and no bosses hovering over the shoulder. Just the driver, the truck, and the road. And with the average salary now topping $42,000 a year, not including benefits and bonuses, trucking can offer the stability and steady pay that the younger generation is looking for.
Now that you know what millennials are looking for, how do you reach them?
As we’ve covered many times before, social media (Facebook in particular) can be a great tool for truck driver recruiters. With the millennial generation in particular, the possibilities on social media become even more apparent.
For instance, 41% of millennials report using Facebook everyday, and 61% of Twitter’s total users are classified as millennials. Not only is the millennial generation active on social media, but they rely heavily on their mobile devices.
- 85% of millennials 18-24 currently own a smart phone.
- 86% of millennials 25-34 currently own a smart phone.
This means that not only should fleets and their recruiting partners actively target drivers on social media, but they should ensure their messaging is easily accessible and readable on mobile devices. Take advantage of all the new tools available for mobile devices and format your messaging for mobile devices to give your fleet the edge over the competition.
Use data to move forward with your driver recruiting.
The younger members of the millennial generation are an attractive target audience for fleets clamoring for new drivers. Knowing how they think and where to reach them is crucial.
Using RigDig data, fleets can actively target millennials by filtering their search by students or years of experience. Take it a step further, and create lookalike audiences on Facebook based off your tailor-made RigDig audience to increase your reach and your chances of netting new drivers.