May 2, 2022
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According to the American Trucking Associations, the average age of OTR truck drivers is 46, and the average age of new drivers just beginning their careers in the industry is 35. This may not seem like an issue, but an older workforce means that many drivers are approaching retirement age. And without new, young drivers to replace them, the driver shortage will only get worse.
Between the drivers retiring soon, the shortage that already exists, and the expected growth of the trucking industry, the ATA estimates that more than 1,000,000 new drivers will need to be recruited to the industry over the next decade.
Older drivers tend to be more rigid and set in their ways than younger drivers. They may have a more difficult time adapting to changing environments.
If you’re looking for drivers who are going to embrace new, cutting-edge technology, Millenial and Gen Z drivers will be more likely to be familiar with new tech innovations.
If you’re hiring a new employee who is 55, they may only have ten years of work ahead of them before retirement. Training new employees and retaining qualified drivers can be expensive. And if your new driver is 25 years old, they may be with you for the next 40 years.
There are many benefits to hiring entry-level drivers. You can train good habits in brand new drivers instead of re-training bad habits that older drivers have ingrained in their brains. And younger drivers have longer careers ahead of them than older drivers.
Recruiting younger drivers is not more difficult than recruiting older drivers, but carriers may find it challenging to attract younger talent if they’re using the same recruitment tactics that they’ve been using for years.
Many carriers are offering signing bonuses for new employees, so offering a competitive starting bonus can be an effective recruitment strategy.
Younger drivers are far more likely to find jobs via social media and apps like TF1, an innovative driver recruitment platform that instantly matches qualified drivers with your jobs.
Younger drivers are often looking for more than just money. They want to know that their job is making a positive difference in the world. When creating job ads specifically targeting younger drivers, try highlighting how the driver will be contributing to the greater good. Other ways to make your company attractive are to showcase professional development and growth opportunities, company-wide events, and any other ways your company helps foster a sense of community for its employees.
The FMCSA is doing what they can to help carriers mitigate the driver shortage and hire younger drivers.. Consider establishing an apprenticeship program for the FMCSA’s Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program to attract drivers aged 18-20 while reducing some of the safety concerns you may have about younger drivers.
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