O.K… it’s time for some straight talk about trucking’s image among the younger generation.
When high school seniors consider their professional future, I doubt if many say “I want to be a truck driver.” Let’s face it, you won’t find many guidance counselors recommending it.
That’s because truck driving has a perception problem. While 80% of the population has an overall view of the profession as positive, many still view the occupation as a low-paying, blue-collar job anyone can do. However, that doesn’t have to be the case.
As experts in recruiting truck drivers, we at DriverSource realize that success in hiring young people as drivers involves more than just posting jobs on an internet job site and waiting for a response. First, it requires an understanding of what applicants today are looking for in a career. Throughout the year, we conduct and attend many job fairs around the country. It helps us understand what young people are looking for when considering a truck driving career. Then, we focus on matching job openings to those desires and wants. It is a process that lands the best drivers and minimizes churn.
Trucking Careers CAN Offer Gen Zers What They Are Looking For
The students graduating from high school or college today are part of Generation Z, born somewhere between the mid-1990s to the early 2000s. They are more financially savvy than the preceding generation. They have observed the high college debt that millennials are saddled with. Gen Zers don’t want to make that mistake. As an alternative, many of them are looking for a career where they can learn a trade or technical skill on-the-job that does not require the typical four-year degree. They expect (and want) this trade or skill to guarantee a wage that is better than the average high school degree-level wage. Being the first generation of the internet, Gen Zers are attracted to and comfortable with technology. They use it daily and see it as a way to make their job (and life) simple.
These desires all represent great opportunities for recruiters of truck drivers to “repackage” the occupation in ways that match what Gen Zers are searching for in a career. Marketing efforts should emphasize:
Entry-level Pay is Above-Average
While the average income for a high-school graduate in 2017 was $30,500, our profession pays much better, even at the entry-level. it doesn’t require a college degree and it is an occupation in great demand. About 50,000 more drivers are needed right now, according to the American Trucking Association.
Technology in Trucking is Big and Only Getting Bigger
Technology is quickly replacing the image of yesteryear’s “truck driver” with what can best be described today as a “transportation manager.” The industry is a highly regulated profession, requiring the use of high-end technology. Just as manual transmissions have given way to automated manual transmissions, trucks today are equipped with crash mitigation technology, GPS systems, ELDs, Video Event Recorders, etc. In short, technology has made truck driving a more comfortable, attractive career. Recruiters should focus on how technology is the future of truck driving and how it is a career that can benefit and use Gen Zer’s technical know-how.
Bill D for DriverSource