It seems like every trucking association meeting or industry convention has a panel or guest speaker on how to attract the next generation of Canadian workers.
Everyone listens intently for solutions: we need to get into the high schools; we need to better connect with guidance counsellors; drivers need higher wages; we need to recognize the skills of the occupation; we need to appeal to women, Indigenous people, and immigrants.
The list goes on, but there’s no one clear answer.
Recruiting and retention have been issues in trucking for decades but today the sense of urgency has never been greater. For many employers, building a strong workforce feels like an absolute necessity if they’re going to survive, let alone succeed. Fleets are turning away loads, striving to maintain current contractual obligations, and leaving no stone unturned in the recruitment of drivers.
At Trucking HR Canada, we have tools that can help. We can provide strategies and practical tips for everything from building a respectful workplace culture to supporting an increasingly diverse workforce.
For example, if you’re committed to hiring more women, particularly as drivers, I want to highlight a program called Women Building Futures (WBF). Those who have attended our Women with Drive Leadership summits are likely familiar with WBF, but for those who have not, let’s take a closer look.
Established in 1998, WBF is a social purpose organization and registered charity that provides women who are unemployed and/or underemployed with the skills they need for a prosperous career. Its vision is to help women out of poverty by training them for careers that lead to economic freedom, personal confidence, and growth.
WBF is positioning traditionally male-dominated industry jobs such as construction workers, plumbers, heavy equipment operators, and, as of 2017, truck driving as first-choice career and lifestyle options for women.
Their approach is working and more women are entering and staying in these occupations as a direct result.
Today, the organization is a leader at increasing the participation of women in male-dominated occupations. With women representing 48% of our labor force, WBF and its efforts are worth your attention.
The numbers don’t lie:
• WBF has extensive experience recruiting and ensuring career success for women within these industries at a consistent employment rate of 90%;
• Graduates see an average increase of 157% in earned income on their first day of employment;
• WBF boasts 116 industry partners and sponsors;
• 94% of WBF’s industry partners would recommend hiring a WBF graduate;
• There is a 95% likelihood that a WBF graduate would recommend the program she completed;
• 35% of WBF students identify as Indigenous, providing an effective connection to an important community.
In 2017, WBF’s Class 1 driver training program debuted with a 100% graduation rate. Thirty women drivers have now gone through the program and are working with employer partners.
Caron Transport and Westcan Bulk Transport were the first two employers to take the chance on the program. Rosenau Transport, Trimac Transportation, and more are now joining in. I hope this list continues to grow because it means the industry isn’t just sitting back and listening to calls for more diversity as we build a future workforce. We’re actually doing something about it.
With women playing a key role in meeting our future workforce needs, programs like Women Building Futures are vitally important. You can learn more by visiting womenbuildingfutures.com, and be sure to put March 7, 2019, in your calendar for our Women with Drive Leadership Summit.