Trucking needs new ideas to fix pending worker shortage

CALGARY — As the economy continues to trend upwards, it’s predicted a qualified driver shortage will reappear in the trucking industry, but attracting new workers isn’t a problem isolated to transportation.

A variety of sectors will face the prospect of a minimal workforce and, according to the Alberta Motor Transport Association, Alberta alone can expect to see a shortage of about 92,000 workers by the year 2018 due to the aging workforce and declining birthrate.

The challenge for carriers won’t be isolated to the driver pool either. Trucking companies could face growing competition in finding employees to fill gaps throughout their operations.

So, where will transportation employers find skilled workers in the future?

“Alberta employers will have to broaden their hiring practices in the face of the changing labour market to remain competitive,” says Mayne Root, executive director of the AMTA. “Persons with disabilities are an underutilized pool of talent available to meet the growing skill and labour shortages.”

The AMTA has partnered with Viable Calgary to develop a workplace inclusion plan designed to provide transportation employers with helpful information for hiring and retaining disabled workers. Prior to writing the inclusion plan, Viable Calgary surveyed AMTA members to create a snapshot of the memberships’ experience with employing persons with disabilities and their existing knowledge of resources and beliefs about persons with disabilities.

This has resulted in the development of a plan tailored to the road transportation industry that is filled with practical tips and an extensive list of resources. The plan provides steps to creating an inclusive organization and covers interviewing, writing job descriptions and recruiting, accommodations and dispels myths.

“The inclusion plan will better enable AMTA employers to find the right person for the right job in the face of the changing workforce environment,” says Root. “The plan provides AMTA members with a systematic framework for securing and retaining new talent that will be of tremendous value into the years ahead.”

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