MARKHAM, Ont. – “Millennials, the group that trucking wants to target to help with the driver shortage, represent more than one quarter of the US population and have overtaken Baby Boomers as the largest generation,” Jane Jazrawy, CEO of CarriersEdge, told attendees of the WorkForce Builders Conference June 30. “They are also the most diverse generation, with 44.2% part of a minority race or ethnic group and 38% bilingual.”
Addressing the issue of how age, ethnic and gender diversity could help alleviate the growing driver shortage in the trucking industry, Jazrawy said ethnic diversity is becoming a competitive differentiator for companies looking to hire new staff.
“Companies with ethnic diversity have higher earnings and are better able to win top talent,” she said, adding how, according to data from McKinsey and Company, businesses in the top quartile for both ethnic diversity and gender were 35% more likely to have above average financial returns, while those in the top quarter in gender only were only 15% more likely to see the same results.
Similar information from a study by the UCLA Study for the Center for Inequality and the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies showed the fastest growing populations in the US were ‘non-white,’ with the percentage of minorities growing from 32.9% in 2004 to 37.9% in 2014.
“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 said. “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.”
Jazrawy said fleets in the Best Fleets to Drive For program had staff in supervisor, recruiter and training roles who were bilingual. They also made accommodations for those with religious beliefs and provided proper facilities for men and women.
“It’s more than being an equal opportunity employer,” Jazrawy said. “To effectively address the driver shortage, trucking companies should look at ways to entice more Millennials, women and ethnic minorities of all types. 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.”