As the trucking industry continues to grapple with filling jobs, the Millennials could be the answer. As a group they are very diverse, which can be a benefit to the industry.
At the Truckload Carriers Association’s new WorkForce Builders Conference, held on June 30, CarriersEdge, providers of training for the transportation industry, presented the results of research indicating how age, ethnic and gender diversity can help alleviate the driver shortage.
“Millennials, the group that trucking wants to target to help with the driver shortage, represent more than one quarter of the U.S. population and have overtaken Baby Boomers as the largest generation,” said Jane Jazrawy, CEO of CarriersEdge.
“They are also the most diverse generation with 44.2% part of a minority race or ethnic group and 38% bilingual,".Jazrawy added. “Ethnic diversity is becoming a competitive differentiator. Companies with ethnic diversity have higher earnings and are better able to win top talent.”
According to research by global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company companies in the top quartile for both gender and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have above average financial returns and those in the top quarter for gender diversity only are 15% more likely.
Additionally a new report by the UCLA Study for the Center for Inequality and the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies indicates that overall the fastest growing populations are non-white. Nationwide, the percentage of minorities climbed from 32.9% in 2004 to 37.9% in 2014.
“From a driver shortage point of view there is under-representation of minorities in trucking, and there has been very little attention paid to this fact,” Jazrawy stated. “The focus has been on women and veterans because there are larger numbers of people in both of those groups, but it is an oversight to not look harder at what trucking companies could be doing to attract and retain ethnic minorities.”
Jazrawy also reported on successful practices among fleets in the Best Fleets to Drive For program. The annual survey and contest produced by CarriersEdge and the Truckload Carriers Association identifies for-hire carriers providing the best workplace experiences for their drivers.
“Some of the Best Fleets,” Jazrawy said, “have bilingual staff that includes driver supervisors, recruiters and trainers, as well as payroll and safety personnel. They also work with drivers to make accommodations for particular religious beliefs, for instance allowing drivers to be home on certain days or not hauling products like alcohol or pork. Best Fleets also provide separate shower and bathroom facilities for men and women, and have zero tolerance for discrimination and harassment.
“It's more than being an equal opportunity employer,” Jazrawy stated. “To effectively address the driver shortage, trucking companies should look at ways to entice more Millennials, women and ethnic minorities of all types. These large workforce groups have choices, so the more things that trucking companies can do to be appealing employers, the more likely it is that they will choose a career as a truck driver.”