In every conversation about the driver shortage someone invariably says, “To solve the problem, just pay them more.” And while the average pay for drivers may be low, it seems to me that drivers want more than just higher wages. This is especially true of younger people entering the work force.
Research on what millennials (those born between the early 1980s and early 200s), wants shows that while money is important, it is not as important as it was for other generations of workers. A recent article in Forbes says that among other things younger workers want a work-life balance, they want their jobs to have a purpose, and they want to work for a company that has “a serious corporate responsibility program.” (http://www.forbes.com/sites/karlmoore/2014/10/02/millennials-work-for-purpose-not-paycheck/)
Earlier this year, Forbes (http://www.forbes.com/sites/robasghar/2014/01/13/what-millennials-want-in-the-workplace-and-why-you-should-start-giving-it-to-them/) reported on a study by the Intelligence Group which found that 64% of workers between the ages of 20 and early 30s said it’s a priority to make the world a better place, 88% want to work in a collaborative not competitive environment, 74% want flexible schedules and 88% want work-life integration.
I recently heard first hand from a young man who has been in the industry for less than a year. He read my earlier blog post on fuel efficiency and the driver shortage and he said “there should be less of a focus on increasing driver pay and more of a focus on some of the things that millennials value: personal freedom, travel, social causes, community.” He had some suggestions too. One was that fleets could schedule the driver so his off days were in a new city which addresses the younger generation’s desire to travel. Another was for carriers to donate money based on miles driven to a charity of the driver’s choice.
These are great suggestions and worth consideration.
I am particularly struck by the research and comments that younger workers are concerned with making the world a better place and want to work for people who are good corporate citizens. I think the work we do at NACFE and the Carbon War Room on Trucking Efficiency provides a blueprint for fleets that want to be environmental stewards. The technologies we have studied in our Confidence Reports have demonstrable impacts on improving fuel efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Fleets that invest in these technologies can use them in their recruiting efforts to demonstrate to millennials that they hear what they are saying and are taking steps that will make a real difference.
Obviously money factors into a person’s decision to accept a job offer, but especially for the new generation of workers we need to attract, we must look beyond the paycheck, if we want to keep freight moving. It might take some creative thinking, but the history of the trucking industry shows us that we have no shortage of great minds and gutsy, innovative leaders.