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Trucks at Work

Trucking could benefit from the fiscal worries of Millennials

If trucking can deliver jobs with solid steady pay and home time, recruiting and retaining younger folks might become easier.

I’ve touched on the use of “fiscal worry” as a trucking recruiting tactic before in this space and do so again now because, apparently, such “worry” is a top-of-mind issue among Millennials – the generational cohort the industry needs to attract to help fill driver, technicians, dispatcher, and other positions critically important to the business of moving freight.

Indeed, by 2025, 75% of the overall U.S. workforce will be comprised of Millennials (derided though they sometimes are) and competition will be fierce for their talents.

So where does “fiscal worry” fit into all of this? Well, according to a national survey conducted by the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School last year, Millennials cite an “economic downturn” or “recession” as their greatest career concern, followed by short-term financial emergencies and job automation, though the latter is a longer-term worry.

Fears over the impact of an economic downturn on careers were triple those of any other concern (36%) among Millennials, according to the Pepperdine poll, with the “inability to keep skills current with the needs of employers” (13%) and “technology that exceeds your skillset or ability” (12%) as the next greatest threats to their careers.

Many Millennials also reported in the survey that they need “ongoing financial assistance” with nearly six in 10 or 58% saying it would be “very” or “somewhat difficult” for them to be completely financially independent without help from their family and friends.

Affording emergencies is also no easy task for Millennials, either, as a large share said they would have difficulty paying for emergencies that cost $250 (30%), $500 (49%) or $1,000 (68%).

“These findings suggest that the recession left an indelible impression on young people and will follow them around for the foreseeable future,” said David Smith, associate professor of economics at the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School and the survey report’s author. “The lump of coal in the stocking might be how Millennials face up to near term financial challenges.”

This isn’t to say trucking offers a gold-plated road to financial comfort; indeed, driver pay is a sore point for many veteran big rig operators, though it is undergoing a long-awaited spike.

Still, for a generation facing big college tuition bills, driving a truck or working as a technician may offer a better fiscal glide path than many of them might think.

That’s a point Kevin Tomlinson, director of maintenance for South Shore Transportation Co., stressed in a panel discussion a few years ago.

“Kids can go to college, come out $150,000 in debt, and go work at McDonalds,” he said. “Or don’t go to college, come drive or turn wrenches for us, and start out making $55,000 with no debt.”

Something to consider as recruiting and retaining new works is only going to be become a more challenging endeavor for trucking in the months ahead.

TAGS: News
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