In 2016, Millennials became the majority of the U.S. workforce. As of 2022, Millennials make up 35% of the workforce with 56 million working individuals, with Generation X being the second-largest group in the workforce with 53 million individuals. According to Zippia, as of 2022, the average age of truck drivers ranges between 45 and 55, with variations depending on their race and gender. This showcases a critical problem: trucking companies are struggling to bring in younger drivers and will soon face one of the most significant driver shortages the industry has ever experienced if nothing is done.
Younger generations, especially Millennials and Generation Z, have come into the workforce with a very different ideology than their predecessors on what they want out of a job. While previous generations focused heavily on good pay and benefits to provide comfortable finances for their families, the current generation of workers is looking for work that respects their need for a work/life balance. They want to spend more time at home with their loved ones, socializing, traveling, and engaging in various hobbies and skills that they enjoy. Many younger workers are even willing to take smaller paychecks for work that offers more convenience for their lifestyle.
This is one of the most difficult aspects of trucking life that the industry has to tackle. The job requires a lot of time on the road simply by nature, and that will continue to be a growing issue as the younger generations take over more and more of the workforce. Trucking needs to go through a major overhaul to mitigate this problem and bring in young talent that is eager to work as long as their personal life is respected.
Fleets with older trucks are going to have a harder time bringing in young drivers. For the young, the appearance of the trucks will matter. Trucks that are in disrepair or have significant aesthetic issues won’t be appealing to younger drivers and can cause them to turn down a career in trucking.
Aside from exterior aesthetics, the cab can also be a problem. A cramped cabin without any amenities can be a dealbreaker for young potential drivers. Modern cabins that are bigger and have better options, such as small kitchenettes where they can cook their own meals, will be a good way to entice the younger generation into taking up trucking as a career.
Another important factor is the implementation of technology. Some trucking companies have been slow to adopt newer technology, and that works when the average age of truck drivers is higher. However, the younger generation has grown up with technology, and they will expect their trucks to be modernized. Technology can make the job easier and more efficient, especially in the hands of Millennials and Gen Z, and they’ll appreciate a decked-out cab that utilizes technology to the fullest.
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