OTA Dispatch Issue 2, 2022

18 Oregon Trucking Associations, Inc. Oregon Truck Dispatch Adjusting to a Changing Demographic: Age, Gender, & Expectations By Christa Wendland, OTA Communications Consultant THERE’S A LOT of talk these days about the major shift in America’s workforce, some of it is driven by the pandemic and some from an aging and changing workforce. The latter is especially true in the trucking industry and it’s not necessarily a new concept. The average age of an employed commercial truck driver is 48 years old. The most common ethnicity of commercial truck drivers is White (63.0%), followed by Hispanic or Latino (18.1%) and Black or African American (13.0%). When it comes to education, 32% of drivers have a high school diploma, 21% have an Associate degree and 20% have a Bachelors degree. So how can carriers use all this information and other demographic details, and why is it important to know these numbers? Simply put, a one-size-fits-all approach to recruiting, onboarding, training, and retention just won’t cut it these days. As much as some would like us to believe that we’re all one big homogenous group, potential employees all have different priorities. Acknowledging that, and understanding how to adapt, can give you an edge. Shrinking Gender Gap While there has been a significant increase in female drivers—now at 16%— men still make up 84% of drivers. There’s also a bit of a gender pay gap, with men making around $61,000 and women only $52,000, on average. Experts attribute this growth in female drivers (it was just 9.65% in the first quarter of 2021) to more female-friendly job options and ads directed at women. Carriers are increasingly using these tactics to add more women to their ranks. Age is Just a Number—Or is It? In the fourth quarter of 2021, 48% of people applying for truck driving jobs were under the age of 40. This means that they probably don’t have a fax machine (if they even know what it is) and live a lot of their lives in the digital world. Where you are posting your employment ads and how you are accepting applications could influence your field of applicants. Even if small fleets aren’t there yet, there is a growing need to recruit and onboard more drivers electronically. Add in the recent need to social distance and it becomes even more important to have online options in place. Location, Location, Location Where you operate and recruit from is also a key consideration. Companies hiring in the Southeast region get the highest number of driver applicants, followed by jobs advertised for positions in the Midwest and Southwest. Truck driving jobs are apparently less popular in the West and Northeast—so another challenge for Oregon carriers. This also goes back to the one-size-fits all approach and the need to change things up. If you’re recruiting in more than one region, understand that the same add may not resonate. Kids Today While it might seem a little early in the game, there is also value in taking a look at Generation Z—those who are 9–24 years old. While carriers might think they have plenty of time to cultivate this group, keep in mind that they are supposedly entrepreneurial and want a clear path into trucking, along with a map of how they can move up the ranks