Carriers should invest in technology to attract Gen Z workers, experts say
With the gradual transition of U.S. workers from baby boomers to a labor pool full of Generation Z workers, attracting and retaining candidates can be a challenge for employers, especially companies. in the truck.
Truck driving is a difficult profession and always a work last resort for many workers, but using technology to attract young employees is something that almost any company can do, according to Jamison Craig, head of growth-North America at Quincus, a Singapore-based software-as-a-service platform for logistics.
Craig said many carriers are still using outmoded methods for things like route optimization, communication and even updates on wait times at loading docks.
“I’ve talked to my friends who are local carriers, especially independent contractors for some of the big brands that serve the ground, and their systems are outdated now,” Craig told FreightWaves. “An example of old-fashioned methods is route optimization: They’re literally in a break room on a laminated map, routing their deliveries for the day.”
Old tools for communicating with drivers are a problem too, according to Craig.
“Some companies still use these ad hoc pickups; they have no way of communicating with the driver, ”Craig said. “So when a driver, like a little parcel ground driver, comes back to the terminal, they’ll say,‘ Hey, you know what, you have to go back there and do these other pickups. because we can’t get communication. for you. That’s frustrating, and that could also cause some turnover there. ”
Where are all the truck drivers?
Truck companies around the world face staffing challenges, according to the International Road Transport Union (IRU), which says nearly 20% of all professional truck driving jobs are not filled worldwide. IRU is an organization that represents the global truck/transportation industry.
The U.S. trucking industry now faces a shortage of nearly 80,000 drivers, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA).
To sustain rising freight demand across the U.S. over the next decade, trucking companies will need to recruit about 1 million new drivers, according to ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello.
“The industry is raising wages five times the historic average, but it’s not a salary issue,” Costello said in a release. “We have an older worker, a more masculine worker, and finding ways to address the issues is the key to reducing shortages.”
The average age of a truck driver is currently more than 47 years old, according to the ATA. The industry currently has about 2 million drivers, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.
Even if the word “millennial” becomes synonymous with almost any young person, the Pew Research Center defines millennials born between 1981 and 1996. Anyone born out of 1997 is about Gen Z.
Gen Z and millennials now make up nearly half (46%) of the full-time U.S. workforce, according to a 2021 Gallup study.
Millennials and Gen Z as “digital natives”
Spencer Barkoff, co-founder and president of Relay Payments, said Gen Z workers are “digital natives” because they grew up with mobile technology.
“They hope to have well -developed technology solutions to control all aspects of the services they use, and they won’t be tolerant of clunky processes,” Barkoff told FreightWaves. “However, 95% of truck drivers now have smartphones, it’s not just Gen Z workers who are demanding innovation in how they manage their day-to-day business. Technology can help increase efficiency and quality of life for the current community of drivers while also helping to recruit the next generation of drivers.
Atlanta -based Relay Payments is a fintech company that has built a digital payment network for the transportation, logistics and supply chain industries.
“Like any other line of work, drivers want to maximize their ROI and often leave the industry because of outdated processes that result in lost revenue or unmanageable costs,” Barkoff said. “As a result, carriers who can eliminate driver frustration have a real advantage in recruiting and retaining talent.”
Barkoff said many trucking companies still rely on drivers to fill out paperwork manually, often waiting for them for hours to clear payments, “which results in longer waiting times. in ports and pickup trucks instead of on the road. “
“A lot of drivers often get stranded on the side of the road because they can’t be found safe, all night parking on their route,” Barkoff said. “Technology like the one we’ve built can improve the driver experience, helping them quickly find parking on their route and issue immediate payment that will get them back on the road.
Craig said trucking companies can address route optimization, wait times and delays by investing in fleet management software programs, along with technology like dash cams, sensors for trailers, fluid retention and tire pressure.
The technology will be available to large ships, smaller truck companies, as well as independent contractors, according to Craig.
“Regardless of the size of the fleet, the technology is there,” he said.
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