Labor market information

by Angela Splinter

As we educate the government on our need for workers, advocate for our fair share of skills and training development dollars, and promote career and economic opportunities in this industry, one thing is clear: we need more than anecdotes about how tight the labor market is right now. We need good data.

At Trucking HR Canada, we are working hard to quantify the industry’s current and future demand for skilled drivers, dispatchers, technicians, administrators, managers, and more.

In partnership with the Conference Board of Canada, we are embarking on the largest national labor market study the trucking and logistics sector has ever seen.

Here’s a snapshot of where we’re at, and where we’re going:

Defining the scope
We started our study by defining the scope, size, and key segments of the industry. Trucking and logistics is larger than we think when we factor in warehousing, storage, freight brokering, and more. How we define ourselves and our economic impact is important.

As the competition for workers intensifies, a clear and consistent definition of what our industry encompasses will inform a more accurate assessment of our overall workforce numbers and impacts.

More consistent data
This definition, what we call our “labor market information framework,” will allow more consistent data capture, analysis, and modeling which, in turn, will support a more accurate measurement of supply and demand for trucking and logistics services.

Instead of the piecemeal approach we have now, our study will provide much-needed consistency and credibility in terms of how we measure the scope and size of the industry.

Leading indicators
Trucking HR Canada’s preliminary analysis, which includes recent data from Statistics Canada, labor force surveys, and the Conference Board’s own transportation-specific studies, supports our narrative with concrete numbers.

Trucking and logistics has a 6.6% vacancy rate, one the highest across all industries and more than double the national average of 3.2%. This is despite the fact that the driver workforce, which is approximately 318,000 people, is at a five-year high. Studies suggest that there are more than 20,000 vacant driver positions today.

Additionally, our definition of trucking and logistics – which includes commercial freight as well as activities in natural resources development, construction, manufacturing, and wholesale/retail trade – indicates a workforce much larger than we thought, meaning our economic impact deserves attention.

We need your voice
Capturing labor force statistics is important, but the real work will involve collecting primary data. This means talking directly with fleet owners and human resources professionals to produce a more complete picture of the current and future demand for jobs and skills that employers are looking for.

Over the next few months, Trucking HR Canada will be reaching out to fleets of all sizes, in all regions, and in various segments of the industry. The surveying will take some time, but we believe that more sources will produce more credible and accurate labor market information.

And this, in turn, will mean better-informed policy makers, educators, training providers, and HR professionals – those on the front lines of ensuring we have a skilled workforce today and into the future.

We look forward to working with you in making it happen.

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