Photo: U.S. Air Force

Finding and keeping talent: It’s not just trucking’s concern

Jan. 22, 2018
CEOs across a wide swath of industries are struggling to recruit and retain workers. And that’s only going to grow in difficulty.

So not too long ago I noted in this space that trucking faced a rapidly-changing job market, one based in part of a changing demographic pool of workers, demand for better pay, and changing skill sets.

But such issues are also prevalent in many other business sectors as well. In fact, the findings from the C-Suite Challenge 2018 annual survey of over 1,000 business leaders – conducted by the Conference Board – found that the “top concern” of CEOs is attracting and retaining talent; a concern that is also top of mind for the “rest of the C-Suite,” too, including chief human resource officers [CHROs] and CFOs, noted Bart van Ark, the report’s co-author and the Conference Board’s chief economist.

"To cope with worker and skill shortages down the road, this year's survey results tell us that organizations are fundamentally rethinking the composition of their future workforces," added Rebecca Ray, the report’s other co-author and executive vice president-knowledge organization at the Conference Board.

As a result, “nearly 80% of CHRO respondents foresee greater use of contingent non-traditional employees. Moreover, three-quarters of them anticipate a rise in digital labor solutions such as robotic process automation,” she said.

The Conference Board’s annual poll also discerned several other workforce trends worth noting:

  • Culture reigns supreme: To improve innovation performance in 2018, both CEOs and CHROs ranked as the most important strategy; to “create a culture of innovation that encourages cooperation across functions and business units and promotes risk taking.”
  • Less than half of CEOs (48%) see their organization as a technology leader in their industries: Moreover, less than 10% of CEOs globally say they are "extremely satisfied" with their organization's ability to innovate and they continue to struggle with how to measure innovation.
  • Bracing for a new world of work. Fewer than half (41%) of CHROs think their workforces in the next three to five years will be comprised predominantly of traditional, full-time employees.
  • A culture of safe, ongoing communication: For human capital strategies in 2018, CEOs ranked as most important to “communicate effectively from all levels – up, down, and across – both consistently and transparently.” Also, in this area CEOs ranked as fourth most important to “encourage an open, safe, and transparent speak-up culture.”

It should be noted that it won’t take much to get truck drivers to participate in a “speak-up culture,” by the by – especially when it comes to topics such as electronic logging devices (ELDs), equipment specifications, and how they get paid.

Yet it should also be noted that, more broadly across the U.S. labor force, even though hiring is rising and unemployment remains low, a large gap remains where benefits are concerned.

Indeed, nearly 25% of full-time employees in the U.S. do not receive benefits such as health insurance, retirement savings plan, or paid vacation, from their employers, according to a new survey by Clutch, a B2B research firm.

Those findings suggest that by not offering a benefits package, businesses risk losing out on top talent during the hiring process – something trucking should keep in mind.

Health insurance is overwhelmingly the most valued benefit, according to Clutch’s survey, with over half (55%) of full-time employees who receive benefits say health insurance provided by their employer has the most impact on their job satisfaction.

Paid vacation time, overtime pay, and retirement plans are also identified in the survey as important to workers' satisfaction, the firm noted.

And not all employees who receive benefits are happy with them. Indeed, the Clutch survey found that one-third (32%) of employees who receive benefits are not satisfied, with the most common reason for employee dissatisfaction, at 52% of respondents, is they want more of a benefit they already have.

Another 14% say they want different benefits than the ones they currently receive, the firm noted.

Providing health insurance may seem expensive and complicated to employers. But employers and employees benefit when businesses sponsor healthcare, said Lisa Oyler, human resources director at Access Development, a private discount network.

“If your business offers health insurance, you will benefit by having more productive, healthier employees,” she explained. “People are a valued asset. If you offer these benefits and educate employees on how to utilize them, you're making an investment in them and their long-term health.”

That’s important to keep in mind as more workers are planning to look for new jobs this year.

According to a survey from staffing firm Accountemps, approximately three in 10 or 29% professionals plan to look for a new position in the next 12 months. And of the 27 markets the firm surveyed, Los Angeles (40%); Austin, TX (38%); and Dallas, TX (37%) topped the list of U.S. cities with the most workers planning to find new opportunities.  

Something to think about as trucking’s recruiting and retention efforts shift into high gear this year.

About the Author

Sean Kilcarr | Editor in Chief

Sean previously reported and commented on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry. Also be sure to visit Sean's blog Trucks at Work where he offers analysis on a variety of different topics inside the trucking industry.

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