It’s no secret that the trucking industry is currently facing a significant shortage of drivers. According to the most recent data, the shortage will amount to 48,000 drivers by 2024. That’s an alarming number considering the growing demand for freight transport and the aging industry workforce.

The average age of drivers is 55, with many close to retirement. To fill the subsequent void, the industry has to attract more young drivers. In 2011, drivers aged 25–34 made up only 14% of the workforce, even though millennials, or Generation Y, account for 37% of the Canadian workforce. That’s a great pool to meet industry needs. However, they have their own expectations, values, and ways of doing things. Understanding them goes a long way to successfully attracting them by building a better connection with them.

Work-life balance

Balance is a priority for millennials. Time spent with family and friends is among their top concerns. They have to be able to enjoy life despite their occupation. On the other hand, their work is part of their lifestyle. They don’t necessarily divide work and personal life; they are always connected. Millennials share, discuss, and communicate online every day.

Unfortunately, millennial perception of the trucking industry does not meet their expectations. This is particularly true for long-haul transportation, which calls for multi-day trips. According to a Trucking HR Canada study, employers could, among other initiatives, provide more flexible work opportunities to help attract younger talent.

Health and wellness

Millennials attach greater importance to maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle compared to previous generations. They favor organic products and buying local. In fact, a close look at their purchases reveals mainly unprocessed foods. This concern for health and well-being is rooted in their daily lives, with instant access to a wealth of information on the web and health-related mobile apps (calorie counters, exercise programs, sleep trackers, etc.).

Considering how truck drivers live on the road, how can you convince millennials that they could maintain a healthy lifestyle? One possibility involves providing additional benefits that directly target health. Making healthy prepared meals available at the terminal could be one such initiative: that way, drivers could simply pick up their meals before heading out.

Environmental awareness

Millennials are very concerned with the environment and the environmental impact of their lifestyles. As a generation, they are highly involved when it comes to climate change. Through this awareness, millennials choose not only products that are environmentally friendly, but also employers who share this same value.

The trucking industry has a lingering reputation as a polluter, which is not necessarily attractive to young people concerned about the future of our planet. However, several carriers are making real efforts to minimize their impact and foster fuel efficiency. Whether by taking part in the SmartWay program or by leveraging technology to reduce fuel consumption, employers should talk up their environmental initiatives. They help change young people’s perception of the industry.

Identifying with work

Young people aged 18–35 tend to define themselves as a function of their occupation. Work is part of who they are. That is why they choose work that both resembles them and projects a certain image to others. You increasingly hear that everything should be “instagrammable”, in reference to the popular social platform that is Instagram, meaning that it should be possible to present things attractively in pictures. Their workplace makes no exception. As Angela Splinter of Trucking HR Canada said at a conference, being a truck driver should also be “instagrammable”. Seeing how this career leads you to discover new places and vistas can be a way to help millennials discover this facet.

Since millennials are unlikely to change their lifestyles to adapt to the transportation industry, it is important that you adjust how you do things. That way, you can understand them better and reach them more effectively! For concrete tips on modernizing your HR approach, watch our webinar with Angela Splinter from Trucking HR Canada.