Those missing millennials

Picture of Angela Splinter

Millennials, or those aged 18 to 35, are the largest cohort in Canada’s workforce. Yet they represent a very small percentage of the trucking workforce.

Ten years ago, 18% of our drivers were 25 to 34 years old.

Five years ago, that number was less than 15%.

Today, a recent survey of trucking employers shows that virtually none (yes, none) has an HR plan to attract or retain young people.

Now let’s pretend that I have sound effects. That’s me blasting the air horn.

In trucking, Generation Y is more like Generation Where? Engaging with this age group now, in a meaningful way, is a business imperative.

And in order to engage with millennials we first need to understand them. Here are three basic things you should know about hiring and managing millennials:

They’re technologically savvy

This generation grew up during an explosion of new technology. They have never known life without smart phones, texting, and social media—they’re constantly “on.” Their highly sophisticated use of technology has helped them become masters at multi-tasking, immersed in global communities, and the lines between work and life have blurred.

It’s a just-in-time generation

Technology has provided millennials with the means to connect and communicate immediately. Information is always at the tips of their fingers—a click, tap, or swipe away. When they want information, they’re accustomed to immediate responses, gratification, and feedback.

They’ve been shielded and engaged

Helicopter parents, no-fail educational policies, being rewarded with a medal for last place—this generation has been consistently told they are special and cannot fail.  Additionally, people in this age group have been raised to respect the environment, have a high rate of volunteerism, and have a desire to make a difference in their communities and the world.

How can this information help you?

Consider your company’s brand. Just think of the boost to your reputation if a few young people promoted you as a great employer to their vast social networks

Look at your management style, especially when something goes wrong. Mentorship and coaching programs can give this generation the guidance they crave. A little constructive criticism can soften the blow and help younger employees focus on how to improve.

Offer young employees opportunities to contribute to the company in meaningful ways. If you don’t know what that means, ask them. Just be prepared to respond quickly— remember, immediate feedback.

Lastly, make recruiting and retaining millennials part of a strategic and focused HR plan. You just may find yourself blasting the air horn at the competition.

Picture of Angela Splinter

Angela Splinter leads Trucking HR Canada, a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to addressing the human resources challenges and opportunities in the trucking and logistics sector. Angela is a frequent speaker at industry events sharing innovative HR best practices, trends and insights. As a respected leader in HR, Trucking HR Canada works with various associations, government departments and industry professionals to ensure employers have the skilled workforce needed for today and in the future. Feel free to learn more at, subscribe to our newsletter and follow us @TruckingHR for the latest tips, practical resources and more. You can follow Angela directly at @AngSplinter. And we can be reached by e-mail:

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  • It’s hard for new drivers such as the millenials to get hired. Under 25 for some insurance company policies combined with lack of practical experience. I have applied to a number of carriers and I get the same answer from them like they learned it in school, “we have decided not to move forward with your application at this time”. If not now, when? No one will tell me why they turn my application down. I want to work but I am treated like a pariah. One carrier stated not enough experience yet asks my school about new graduates? I even asked about being an o/o and still nothing. No point in buying/leasing a tractor with no guaranteed job to pay for it. A Catch-22 situation. In time, a new and young driver can potentially be a great driver.