Millennials And The Future Of Trucking
Like every generation before them has also been, millennials have often been derided by their elders for being shallow, entitled, and lazy. Like it or not though, they are not only the future of our world in general, but also the future of trucking.
As most observers of the trucking industry know, the industry is experiencing a trucking shortage of tens of thousands. To make matters worse, the average driver age is 50, indicating a rapidly aging workforce that will need to be replaced sooner rather than later, lest workforce shortages get worse.
Staffing shortages force carriers to put more and more pressure on existing company drivers and owner-operators, even abusing them and pushing them into Abused Driver Syndrome. This in turn leads to safety and risk management concerns that put drivers and other motorists in dangerous circumstances.
These potential short- and long-term endangerments could negatively affect the profitability of carriers. With the future of trucking in doubt, the industry is rapidly learning that it may need to adjust in order to attract millennials into its driver workforce.
While older generations may characterize today’s millennials – roughly known as the generation born between 1980 and 2000 – as lazy and selfish, researchers point out different things about millennials. They characterize millennials as hard working but independent, averse to setting down long-term roots, socially and economically transient, and focused on work-life balance.
Trucking provides many benefits for millennials
While maintaining work-life balance has always been a struggle for the trucking industry, there are a number of other factors that make trucking attractive to millennials. Since they are getting married and buying houses later and later in life, many millennials are far more open to and available for the traveling life on the road, especially since pay is high compared to many alternatives. The independence and ability to travel that trucking provides are also major draws for millennials.
Millennials are also aware that the rising costs of college are out of control. Not only do most college graduates end up tens of thousands of dollars in debt, but also they are far from guaranteed even entry-level employment in their desired fields. Because of this, high paying blue-collar jobs, like trucking, are becoming more and more attractive.
To tap into millennials that are feeling this sentiment, some trucking companies are contemplating driver training tuition payback programs for new hires. Trimac Corporation has even instituted a full driver training tuition reimbursement program for new hires that is paid back over time as drivers stay with the company. It is not only drawing new drivers into the industry, but it is also rewarding them for staying.
Programs like this, combined with the desire for both new experiences and financial independence will draw increasing numbers of millennials into the trucking workforce. The future of trucking is in this next generation.