As the trucking industry continues to struggle with a growing shortage of drivers, transportation companies are using more tech-oriented recruitment strategies to attract younger drivers.
According to the 2017 Transportation Spotlight report by employee background check firm HireRight, trucking companies are using fresh tactics to bolster driver recruitment and to attract a more diverse audience.
While referrals remain the top recruiting strategy, there is a noticeable shift away from recruiting via traditional channels such as trade publications and job boards. Both of these methods have seen a year-over-year drop by 6 and 10 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, use of social networking has increased 13 percent. More than 60 percent of trucking companies with more than 500 employees are participating in social media to improve chances of finding candidates.
Many companies are moving beyond standard social media like Facebook and Twitter to visually-oriented platforms like Instagram, said Stephen Spencer, managing director of transportation business unit for HireRight. “They're using [social media] in new ways, taking pictures of things like company events or maybe even showing a picture of a beautiful sunrise while driving across Wyoming.”
And once engaged, 40 percent of trucking companies are using mobile-friendly application and screening processes to create a better “onboarding” experience, according to the report.
Many companies are also adjusting their benefits to reduce the retirement rates of current employees while also bringing younger workers in the door.
Spending on wellness benefits has increased 6 percent year-over-year to keep older workers on the job, Spencer said.
Beyond traditional compensation increases, 55 percent of companies are employing tactics like driver appreciation events, and 36 percent are offering flexible work arrangements, according to the report.
“We don't have anything that clearly demonstrates the nexus between recruiting millennials and [changing their benefits], but we can draw a correlation between that and more freedom and more flexibility,” Spencer said.
Other sectors, including manufacturing and construction, are also changing strategies to attract and retain the growing generation. Compared to older generations, millennials typically want more flexibility, time off and options that support a work-life balance.
A recent survey by Deloitte found that employers that reward employees with a higher degree of flexible working environments tend to earn greater loyalty from millennial workers. Organizations who offered such arrangements also said it had a positive impact on financial performance.
Trucking companies are also using wellness to appeal to more younger workers and combat the perception that long-haul trucking is an unhealthy job with high rates of obesity, said Spencer. “One challenge [with younger workers] is that long haul trucking doesn't have a reputation for being a healthy position.”
An analysis by the American Trucking Associations found the industry is currently short 48,000 drivers and that if current trends continue, the driver shortage could rise to nearly 175,000 by 2024.