The Broken Image of Trucking

 

Dear Trucking Industry,
You don’t pay well, your working environments are unfavorable, there’s a lack of career advancement, and frankly, you’re just not that cool.

Sincerely,
Talented People Who Could Be Working for You.

That’s the general attitude towards careers in the transportation and logistics (T&L), according to a recent report titled Winning the Talent Race, part of PwC’s Transportation and Logistics 2030 series.

There will be over eight billion people living on Earth in 2030, the report states. More people means more production, and that means the transportation and logistics industry will have to keep a lot more goods flowing a hell of a lot faster.

It’s 2012 now, and baby boomers are going to start retiring, draining the pool of future transportation and logistics employees. The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals estimates that the U.S. trucking industry will need to hire one million new drivers in the next 15 years just to deal with replacing retirees and the increasing levels of freight.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. “It’s been an issue that has plagued us for a while,” said Ken Evans, U.S. transportation & logistics leader for PwC. “Typically, we aren’t subject to violent swings in transportation demand. Normally, we grow about the rate of GDP. But it’s kind of staggering when you look at the basic math and what our needs are going to be.”

Some Very Particular Challenges

The industry as a whole – all over the world, not just here in North America – has some very particular challenges right now: compensation and benefits consistently place near the bottom end of industry wage comparison lists, the adoption of technology is changing the very nature of the jobs, government regulations are increasing while infrastructure and congestion is worsening.

All of these challenges, Evans explains, are magnified by the industry’s negative image. The industry is going to have to update its look and style, if you will, to compete with other sectors. And as far as image goes, there’s also the problem of transparency. While jobs in logistics bring up the bottom on top places to work lists, the transportation industry doesn’t even read on the job-hunting radar.

 

 

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