The trucking industry currently faces the ultimate hiring challenge: needing to recruit scarce drivers who are willing to commit to a demanding life on the road. Competition for talent within the sector is currently at an all-time high, as turnover rates increase and the older generation – which remains the backbone of major fleets – retires.
As we dig deeper into the trucking sector labor statistics, we see that the current shortage of drivers is largely due to varying shifts in worker demographics and pay scales. More drivers are exiting the trucking workforce, and fewer are entering. The taxing lifestyle on the road prevents new entrants from committing to the job – especially younger workers who want to be home more than a few nights per week.
These realities are driving increasing numbers of potential drivers to seek comparably paying jobs (approximately $45,000-50,000 per year) in industries where they can also have a stable home base. For example, the construction industry has experienced steadily increasing job availability and wages.
It’s clear that the trucking industry is in dire need of a recruitment revamp. There is good news: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in just a few short months, between April and July, 2018, employment in the sector rose from 1.47 million to 1.48 million. This might suggest that recent, growing trends in trucker recruitment strategies are paying off.
New recruitment trends for the trucking industry
Although referrals remain the top strategy for recruiting new truck drivers, the focus is slowly shifting away from traditional channels – such as job boards and trade publications – which have dropped in use year-over-year by 10 and 6 percent, respectively. Instead, trucking companies are turning towards methods that have already transformed other industries on a large scale. Through the use of more modernized strategies and touchpoints, companies are connecting with and appealing to younger driver prospects.
Every decision made by recruitment teams should be with mobile in mind. In fact, it’s important to consider mobile as the primary applicant touchpoint.
Being mobile-friendly in recruitment is no longer a question of if, but how. With the majority of the workforce using smartphones, trucking companies must tap into this channel to source applicants. This means deploying user-intuitive websites, mobile optimized application funnels and clear buttons with strong calls to action.
Approximately 40% of trucking companies are using mobile application and onboarding processes. Although a great start, this number leaves plenty of room for improvement when measured against the overall usage of smartphones.
Apps and social media
Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are ideal platforms for sourcing a younger pool of driver candidates. Use of social media has increased by 13 percent in trucking recruitment, amounting to 60 percent of trucking companies with 500+ employees participating in social media to improve hiring chances.
Social media allows for a certain inventiveness in recruitment marketing that can help companies gain an edge over their competition. The use of video on Facebook to engage with applicants, for example, can provide both information and a sense of community. Photos on Instagram can demonstrate the often-overlooked perks of being a truck driver – such as operating state-of-the-art machines or witnessing a vivid sunset over the mountains.
Getting smart about recruiting truck drivers
The trucking industry can learn from the small successes of new recruitment channels and strategies. With the right adjustments and additions, recruitment campaigns can bring in reduced effective Cost Per Hire (eCPH) and increased Employee Lifetime Value (ELTV).
Let’s look at several ways trucking companies can amplify their impact in employee sourcing and retention.
Whether it’s promoting the use of brand new or preferred equipment, becoming pet friendly or increasing the number of short hauls – companies should find a unique selling point that allows them to stand out from the competition. This not only alerts prospective drivers that the company cares about its workforce, but also offers a vital sense of community for those who may be on the fence in taking a job in the sector.
Engage consistently with prospective hires.
While this applies to recruitment in any sector, it’s especially important for demanding sectors such as trucking. Engaging with leads keeps them interested and in-the-loop; leaving too much downtime between contact may result in a loss of interest or a lead jumping to another opportunity with no travel involved.
Track, optimize and prioritize leads.
Using a Demand-Side Platform (DSP) or recruitment analytics tool, companies can manage and track valuable data on leads and adjust campaigns accordingly. Each stage of the recruitment funnel – on both desktop and mobile – should be continuously optimized. Trucking companies can take advantage of recruitment automated through such tools.
Bottomline: New recruitment strategies in the trucking industry can lead to significant gains in quality hires.
Now is the time for trucking companies to get ahead in their hiring game. Using available tools, including DSPs, companies can easily make the leap from traditional methods to effective, digital campaign management. This may offer the solution for filling long-empty driver’s seats and reviving the recruitment arm of one of the US’s most vital sectors.
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