I think it is fair to say that if the trucking industry is to succeed in attracting and recruiting the workers we need, it’s time to tackle the issue we all know too well: we have an image problem.
The trucking industry faces so many questions about its image that it’s hard to know where to start.
For example: Truck driving is perceived as low-skilled, more suited for males, with long hours and low pay. The list goes on. Why does this image persist?
Also, trucking offers a range of career options besides driving. Why are they not on anyone’s radar, especially among people who are just starting out?
So, we decided to ask some questions of our own.
In December, we partnered with Abacus Data, a polling firm that specializes in generational change. Together we asked 2,000 young Canadians about their perception of the trucking industry and whether they’d consider it as a profession.
We confirmed some things, like the notion that trucking is not considered a “career” for many young Canadians, and that many think the work is boring, not respected, and lacking in work-life balance.
We learned some new things. We learned that there’s a misalignment in how young people see the trucking industry and the type of work they see themselves doing. Simply put, they can’t envision themselves in our business.
Compared to other industries, trucking had the weakest brand reputation among young Canadians. In fact, one in four respondents to our survey had no information whatsoever about the trucking industry or the types of jobs that are available. Our biggest competition for these workers? Construction.
In summary, we learned that our image problem is our biggest human resources problem.
The research took a deeper dive into the perceptual issues, and tested possible approaches. And it is here that we see some opportunities. Opportunities that, as an industry, we need to figure out how to seize.
For example, the survey identified people who are interested in truck driving-type work. This group underestimated driver pay rates and overestimated the amount of training time it would take to meet entry-level requirements.
We also learned that our image among prospective drivers was not as negative as we might think. The reality is that the average salary for a driver is higher than the average Canadian wage. The reality is that our industry is innovating in green technologies as well as new approaches offering an improved work-life balance.
This was the silver lining we were hoping to find; an opportunity exists here, we just need to grab a hold of it.
We will continue to work with industry leaders, including the Canadian Trucking Alliance, to take control of the narrative and change industry perception. The CEO of Abacus Data, David Coletto, will be speaking at the Manitoba Trucking Association, Alberta Motor Transport Association, and British Columbia Trucking Association meetings this spring, sharing more insight on our research and sparking the conversation we need to have.
Yes, we need to talk about our industry image. More importantly, we need to start doing something about it, and help the next generation of workers see their future
Have your say
We won't publish or share your data