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Of Millennials and freight

June 30, 2016
The Millennial generation will reshape trucking

Is the Millennial generation a bunch of no-good whining slackers? Or are they poised to totally re-shape the concept of “work” as we know it via their knowledge of technology? Maybe even a bit of both perhaps?

Those are but some of the many questions swirling around the present and future role of Millennials in the transportation industry; a topic my colleague Cristina Commendatore tackled recently in an excellent article you can find here.

Jane Jazrawy, CEO of CarriersEdge recently added to this discussion regarding Millennials in a presentation at the new WorkForce Builders Conference put together by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA).

“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,” she explained.

“They are also the most diverse generation with 44.2% part of a minority race or ethnic group and 38% bilingual [and such] ethnic diversity is becoming a competitive differentiator,” Jazrawy added. “Companies with ethnic diversity have higher earnings and are better able to win top talent.”

She pointed to research by global consulting firm McKinsey & Company that found companies in the top quartile for both gender and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have above average financial returns, with those in the top quarter for gender diversity only 15% more likely.

Thus when it comes to trucking – and especially the job of driving big rigs for a living – a recalibrated focus needs to be placed on recruiting Millennials and minorities.

“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 emphasized. “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.”

For example, several of the “Best Fleets to Drive For” annually chosen by TCA boast 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, while providing separate shower and bathroom facilities for men and women, and have zero tolerance for discrimination and harassment,” Jazrawy pointed out.

Thus to “more effectively address the driver shortage,” trucking companies should look at ways to entice more Millennials, women and ethnic minorities of all types into their organizations, she stressed.

“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,” Jazrawy added.

Something to consider as the trucking industry’s need for new workers is only going to grow from here on out.

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And with that, let me wish you a happy Independence Day for this 4th of July. I’m slipping out for a little vacation myself so I’ll see you back in this space in a week or so.

About the Author

Sean Kilcarr 1 | Senior Editor

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