When the industry speaks of human resource issues, the talk is almost always centred around the need for drivers. Yet, trucking is experiencing difficulties recruiting and retaining many other key non-driving occupations as well. In its recent research initiative entitled Beyond the Wheel, the Canadian Trucking Human Resources Council has identified eight key occupations in demand besides truck driver. The current difficulties, when combined with the forecast demand for employees in these occupations in the next three to five years, will become that much more challenging. In a recent survey of more than 1,000 carriers conducted on behalf of the CTHRC, more than 650 respondents indicated they experienced significant difficulties recruiting and retaining dispatchers, mechanics, truck and trailer technicians, supervisors and managers. The main reasons reported for these difficulties included: a lack of labour supply, the industry’s inability to pay competitive wages, and strong competition from inside and outside the trucking industry for a small number of employees. The CTHRC believes that by 2015, about 8,500 additional employees will be needed for the four positions for which most challenges are reported.
CTHRC’s research also found that shortage of training opportunities is an issue. Technology is a particularly sensitive area with approximately three-quarters of carriers who responded indicating their truck and transport mechanics and truck and trailer technicians need training on new types of equipment, parts and/or software.
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