While the effects of the great recession of 2009 may linger for some time, the trucking industry’s chronic challenge of recruiting and retraining enough good, quality people -in a variety of occupations; not just drivers -to support even modest growth will become increasingly acute as recovery becomes more apparent and sustainable.
The trucking industry is not the only industry in Canada that is faced with this challenge, although we all know that for a variety of reasons -aging workforce, public perception issues, depressed freight rates and wages, etc. -it is likely to be an even greater struggle for our industry than for others.
The fact that most other sectors of the economy will also be out there pitching for the best available talent -at a whole variety of skill and experience levels -will only make the competition for labour tougher.
Solving this problem will not be easy. There is no silver bullet. As with most things, it will take a host of seemingly modest measures -and some innovative new thinking -to begin to change the paradigm.
While ultimately carriers, as individual companies, will have to come to grips with this or be left behind, there is a role that groups like the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), the provincial trucking associations and the Canadian Trucking Human Resources Council (CTHRC) can play in helping to tell the industry’s story; because we do have a good one to tell.
Also, we are stronger when we work in partnership.
Recently, CTA, a group of its carrier members, CTHRC and the provincial associations embarked on an exciting new joint initiative that will bring a highlight reel of career opportunities in the Canadian trucking industry to television screens across Canada and through YouTube, Google Video and other Internet media to prospective talent not only here, but around the globe.
While there is plenty of information promoting careers in trucking available in standard paper documents or on various Web pages, getting the industry’s message out to the demographic we are after through the modern media is a next logical step.
Later this year, the trucking industry’s story (which is currently in production) will be a featured as a special segment in a national broadcast of the award-winning informational television program, The Profiles Series (TPS), which showcases business leadership, innovation, technological advances, etc.
The series is hosted by well-known actor Lou Gossett Jr., and is currently distributed in the US to CNN, Bravo, Voice of America, etc., and via the Internet.
The trucking profile will be one of TPS’s first major forays into Canada.
Funding for the project came from CTA, CTHRC, BCTA, AMTA, STA, MTA, OTA and APTA plus a group of seven carriers whose people, equipment and facilities will serve as spokespeople and backdrop for the show.
In addition to highlighting the broad spectrum of careers in trucking, the production will also highlight the technological advances that are driving the safety, environmental and economic performance of the industry in the 21st century.
But of course, it is the people that make this industry, so who better to promote careers in trucking but our current professionals?
I hope you will be as excited as I am to see the final product.
So stay tuned and as they say, check your local TV listings or Google it.
-David Bradley is president of the Ontario Trucking Association and chief executive officer of the Canadian Trucking Alliance.
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