The trucker shortage continues to be a major problem for the logistics industry. In the United States, the current shortfall stands at over 80,000, which means that there are some 80,000 jobs to fill. And the situation will only continue to get worse unless trucking companies change their recruiting tactics. Check out our webinar with TransForce where we took a deep dive on using a data-driven recruitment strategy to stay ahead of the game, and check out these FAQs to learn more!
1. What hiring problems/bottlenecks do you see often in the trucking space?
There are quite a few, but one standout is an antiquated hiring process or workflow that doesn’t match up to the life of truckers today. Recruiters often don’t reach out to applicants unless they fill out the full application, but by that point, they’ve spoken with 10 other recruiters, just because of the nature of today’s job market. The recruiting process also goes too slow – it takes too long for recruiters to give out offers, and then once offers are accepted, it may take too long to get onboarded. Show rates at orientation have declined significantly since COVID. Companies report 50% report rates, and even increasing those by 5 or 10% can make a huge difference.
2. How are other businesses attracting and engaging essential workers and/or trucking candidates?
Here are some ideas for how to attract trucking applicants. These tips also work for essential workers!
- Offer online and mobile-friendly applications – Meet your applicants where they are, which is on the Internet and on their phones. By making your applications online and mobile-friendly, you’re removing a hefty barrier to entry for a lot of applicants.
- Look into “wellness” benefits – Trucking can be seen as an “unhealthy” job with a lot of hours spent sitting, so offering wellness benefits with incentives for gym memberships, health insurance premiums, PTO, and other options can be a definite draw to your company.
- Provide consistent scheduling and a work-life balance – The amount of time away from home can be a problem for a new truck driver. They might be on the road for weeks at a time, which can make family life challenging. However, with an increase in retail distribution centers and employment of hub-and-spoke distribution systems, drivers can spend less time on the road or can concentrate on shorter stints.
- Offer competitive wages – More than just benefits, pay is what will keep employee retention up. If your drivers feel like they can comfortably survive on their wages, then they won’t feel the need to seek out other opportunities.
3. Should I still ask for truckers’ full DOT applications in online job descriptions, or is that a waste of time?
That depends on your legal requirements. Companies that operate the following commercial trucks in interstate commerce are required to comply with the regulations of the FMCSA and should complete DOT background checks on their drivers:
- Commercial vehicles with a gross weight of 10,001 or more pounds
- Passenger vehicles carrying from nine and 15 people even when they are not used for profit
- Trucks of any size that transport hazardous materials under 49 U.S.C. §§ 5101-5126
Drivers who drive these types of vehicles must have Class A, B, or C commercial licenses. If they drive trucks transporting hazardous materials, they also need to have a HAZMAT endorsement on their CDLs. When you employ these types of drivers in interstate commerce, you will need to complete DOT background checks on each of them.
DOT applications are not required by law, so asking for them in the online application may be a barrier to apply. If it can wait until further down the hiring process, then that may be a better use of everyone’s time.
4. What is the predicted impact of self-driving trucks leading to significant job losses as a factor for decreased interest in trucking as a career?
The unfortunate truth is legislation lags behind technology. When we talk about driverless trucks, there are 4 different levels. Level 4 is the only one where there’s truly no driver. Over the next few years, we’re not going to see widespread level 4s. We’re mostly going to see testing of levels 1 and 2, which are glorified cruise control, where the car can drive itself on highways, but the driver will have to take over on street-level roads and still require a driver in the cabin.
What this could do is roll back some of the legislation around the number of hours a driver is allowed to be behind the wheel, but this will likely take a while. It’s also going to open up new positions for drivers, operators or technicians at a desk doing more than just driving, which will hopefully bring up pay rates and new job titles. Our best guess is we’re one to two decades away from this being a widespread practice.
5. Is platooning trailers the future of trucking?
The concept of truck platooning is steadily gaining traction in the transportation industry. Combined with the rise in automation technology, platooning practices could mitigate the issue of labor shortages for trucking firms.
Pros of platooning:
- Increased fuel efficiency
- Decreased highway congestion
- Enhanced road safety
Cons of platooning:
- Unpredictable weather conditions
- Safety for passenger vehicles
- Differing truck loads
Regardless of the pros and cons, brands are testing out platooning on highways across the world to see its viability. Some of the companies include: