Most of the talk about logistics as an industry focuses on the ways new technologies can be used and the constant drive to improve overall supply chain efficiency; however, one crucial part that is often overlooked is the people. In fact, the transportation industry’s lack of young talent poses one of its most significant challenges. With a steadily aging workforce and a decreasing pool of suitable candidates, we could soon be facing a major labor crisis if we don’t start acting now.
For example, the average driver age in the for-hire over-the-road truckload industry is 46. According to the ATA, although women make up almost half of the entire U.S. labor force, only 6.6 percent currently work in this sector. Some believe attracting a younger demographic has become more difficult due to how Millennials and Gen Z perceive the industry.
Demand for global trade is only increasing, and if logistics companies are unable to find the labor to support this growth, supply chains everywhere will at best slow down, or at worst, grind to a halt. The sector's rate is exceeding the pace at which businesses are attracting and retaining new employees. Companies must step up their recruiting game to address this gap and prevent it from expanding to a point of no return.
Reaching Millennials and Gen Z
As older generations retire, Millennials and Gen Z are beginning to make up more and more of the global workforce, and with this younger group of talent comes a whole new set of expectations. Newer generations look for more than just basic pay. They want opportunities for development, careers that provide purpose, and a management style that’s closer to a mentor-mentee relationship. It’s no longer the norm to hold jobs at the same company for 30+ years. To avoid a massive labor shortage and appeal to younger recruits, businesses in this industry will need to understand these shifts in expectations and concentrate on advertising their brand’s vision, career paths, and community engagement.
Reinventing the Sector’s Reputation
Unfortunately, not everyone can see the value of working in this sector, and at times, it can be viewed in a more negative light. One reason that contributes to this image is that the transportation and warehousing industry has the second-highest rate of injuries sustained in the workplace, falling only behind construction. This is not only a huge safety concern, but it’s also a detriment to the industry’s reputation as well as your bottom line. When you pair this with the lack of women, pay incentives, and professional growth, it’s no wonder that the industry doesn’t have the best reputation. Logistics departments and transportation companies need to assess these factors within their own organizations and implement strategies to improve their employees' working conditions.
By creating a desirable place to work and getting the word out, you’ll find that you’ll be able to fill positions a lot more quickly than you’d expect. For shippers and service providers everywhere in the supply chain, it’s all about providing effective training, offering meaningful roles, leaving room for employees to grow, and facilitating solid respectful working relationships.