On November 8th, I sat in on a driver recruitment panel at the second annual Ohio Trucking Association Technology Conference. The focus of the panel was how trucking companies can leverage technology to improve their digital driver brand and recruiting efforts. We’ve covered a few of the major takeaways in recent blogs, from positive branding to improving your candidate experience. In this blog, I’ll discuss one last driver recruitment lesson learned at the conference: how to expand your driver pool.
Every trucking company struggles to consistently recruit and retain professional drivers because of the national driver problem that America is facing today. There are three factors we discussed on the panel that contribute to a shrinking labor pool:
The average age of an over-the-road driver is 55
Current laws and insurance hiring standards make it extremely difficult to bring new entrants into the industry
According to Women in Trucking, only 6% of truckers are women
Every company in the nation is drawing from the same well, and it’s starting to run dry. Demographics are the best economic predictor and these demographics are no bueno if you’re in the business of recruiting truck drivers.
Whether it’s younger or female drivers, there are barriers for them to get behind-the-wheel for the first time. Since most insurance companies require two years experience, most trucking companies rely on the big dog carriers to bring new entrants into the industry. Unfortunately, many of those carriers have earned their reputation of being a Driver Mill. The Driver Mills spit out these new entrants who leave the industry before you can get your hands on them.
The first major hurdle is that the current laws are working against you. It’s difficult to hire new drivers, especially given arbitrary laws about intrastate driving for truckers under 21. Luckily, there are people working to change this. OTA Team 88 is working to pass laws that will provide tax credits for retraining professionals and allowing 18 to 21-year-olds to run interstate. If you like the sound of that as much as we do, show your support and let your voice be heard here.
Just because old laws were not well thought out, doesn’t mean that you should throw 18 to 21-year-olds behind wheel - just like you shouldn’t throw a recent graduate of a CDL school who’s 45 years old directly behind the wheel.
That’s why you need a CDL Finishing School that’s built on top of a train the trainer model like LLLC Instructor Certification. These programs will allow you to safely expand your pool of high quality drivers by effectively training new entrants to become true professionals. Show our CDL Finishing School syllabus to your insurance company to prove you have a consistent and documented process that will allow you to safely expand your driver pool.
If younger drivers and women are not in the industry, you need to start by creating a process by which you can safely welcome them to your company and set them up for success. If you don’t provide structure and a mentor, the chances are low that they’ll thrive in the lifestyle.
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