The US economy is dependent on the trucking and logistics industry to transport materials and goods throughout the country. According to the American Trucking Association (ATA) "in 2012, trucks moved 9.4 billion tons of freight, or about 68.5 percent of all freight tonnage transported domestically." Amidst this staggering statistic, the trucking and logistics industry is experiencing a shortage of drivers. How can you attract the best drivers in this increasingly competitive industry? Recruiting, hiring and retaining good drivers is a widespread challenge for employers these days. The key is to stand out from the competition and have effective recruiting processes in place, while abiding by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations.
Why it's so Challenging to Find Good Drivers
Qualifications. The trucking and logistics industry is highly regulated for good reason, but strict policies disqualify an exorbitant number of drivers. Drivers must meet requirements outlined by the FMCSA.
Application process. The applicant process is extensive. Applicants must complete a mandatoryemployment application that's FMCSA approved, which thoroughly details personal information, licenses, violations, experience, past employer information and more.
Talent pool. There is a shortage of qualified drivers and retention is a big issue.
- Driver turnover has hovered around 90% since 2011. That number dipped into the 84% range in Q1 2015, but still confirms that turnover is a huge issue and costs companies millions of dollars.
- The baby boomer generation is retiring, leaving numerous positions vacant and eliminating a population of experienced drivers from the work force.
- The millenials view "truck driving as a job that has little to offer with paychecks too small to compensate for being away from family and friends for weeks at a time. Warehouses, shipping companies and trucking firms fail to attract college graduates for management positions because of a lack of awareness of the opportunities logistics offers," according to Trudy Brunot at Demand Media.
- Several companies exclude applicants based on medical conditions. "Weight, diabetes, sleep apnea, and high blood pressure are concerns for driver health and could be a reason for refusal to hire," Jim Klepper from Business Smart points out.
The shortage of drivers is an alarming issue. Employers are recognizing the need for change when it comes to recruiting practices. Fortunately, companies like TAM and THRM are helping logistics companies across the country stand out, by recruiting better and smarter.
How to Attract the Best Drivers in the Trucking and Logistics Industry
Provide better incentives than your competitors. Highlight the perks and benefits that your company offers. This also goes hand-in-hand with understanding your retention issues. Evaluate why drivers are leaving your company. Is it due to wages, time on the road or trucking equipment? These may be areas you need to improve to attract drivers.
Visibility. Know where to market your jobs. Be present on relevant job boards and market to younger generations.
Thoughtful postings. Be creative in your job titles and make the postings attractive to applicants. Don't lose applicants who think "it’s just another trucking job."
Utilize an applicant tracking system (ATS). Use an applicant tracking system like TAM to maximize your recruiting efforts and streamline your processes. Here's how an ATS like TAM can help:
- Customize pre-screening questions to collect the required FMCSA requirements.
- Create an eye-catching careers page and postings. Make the applicant experience easy and concise.
- Quickly search for candidates in your searchable database who may not yet be ready to make a move, but expressed interest.
- Allow applicants to easily apply on mobile devices.
- Boost your jobs on job boards.
- Quickly secure the best talent. Don't lose good applicants to slow recruiting processes.
- Check for duplicate applicants, so you’re not wasting time looking at prior applicants who are unqualified to drive, aren't eligible for rehire or have a poor background with moving violations, DUI’s etc.
- Create custom workflows (pipelines) to keep track of the steps needed to comply with FMCSAregulations.
Hire a recruiting consulting firm. If you're still struggling to fill your trucks, hiring a consulting firm like THRM to help with recruitment can pay off.
"We went searching for an applicant tracking system but found so much more in TAM. (TAM/THRM's) wonderful team have years of recruiting experience under their belt and it shows. Our dedicated recruiter, provides us amazing feedback and detailed notes on candidates. We could not be more happy with the results...We at Angel Express (formerly Little Boy Logistics) just like to pay it forward to our fellow trucking and logistics companies looking to create the perfect group fit for your unique company cultures. After all, us truckers have to stick together!" (Angel Tang from Angel Express a logistics and trucking company).