As a CDL driver recruiter, you’re well aware of the ongoing driver shortage in the trucking industry. In fact, new studies show that the industry as a whole will have to hire almost a million new drivers in the next ten years to keep up with demand.
While this number may seem staggering (because it is!), it doesn’t have to mean a headache for savvy recruiters. This is because there is a new group of workers ready to hit the roads – Gen Z.
While Millennials may have a bad reputation for killing everything in their path, relatively little is known about the new generation coming up behind them. Gen Z is poised to become a large portion of the American workforce in the next few years and it’s time for CDL driver recruiters to take notice.
Recruiters already have to wait for the workforce to turn 21 so they can gain an interstate CDL license, which presents an amazing opportunity to corner this young market. According to Forbes, Gen Z recruits are entering the workforce much earlier than their Millennial counterparts. This means that CDL driver recruiters have a unique chance to engage Gen Z workers early in their career and create lifelong corporate relationships.
If you thought recruiting to Millennials was hard, however, Gen Z might be a bit of a shock. We’re talking about a generation that was born and raised with a cell phone in hand and who have never known a world without the internet. To truly attract and retain Gen Z CDL drivers in 2022 and beyond, you must be even more astute in how you leverage recruiting tools and engage with prospects.
Here are 4 key ways to improve driver recruiting to attract and retain these younger CDL driver prospects:
Think mobile first for recruiting younger drivers.
Yes, this is a critical recruiting point for all generations of drivers, but Gen Z applicants have higher expectations for their mobile experience than most. From text message interviews to single-sign-on application programs, every part of the application experience must be mobile-optimized in order to recruit and retain younger driver applicants.
Even your DOT application itself should be accessible from a smartphone without requiring any kind of PDF downloadable driver application. In other words, you want to make sure you're using a mobile-friendly applicant tracking system (ATS) for a truly mobile-first application experience.
Streamline your truck driver application process as much as possible.
Unsurprisingly, industry experts agree that Gen Z workers are much less likely to continue engaging with a company that has a poor job applicant experience. Younger drivers expect to experience the world through proactive, personalized engagement sessions, and these expectations extend to their job search preferences.
One good place to start is to visualize the recruiting process from the driver’s perspective to get a grasp of how it actually works to go through your recruiting process. Try to eliminate as many unnecessary steps as possible to streamline the process. Send your driver recruiters through this application process at least once a quarter and challenge them to improve the experience each time. You'll soon find that your process for recruiting and retaining drivers will start to align with today's younger driver expectations as you eliminate bottlenecks and glitches in your driver applicant processes.
Set up a professional driver training and development program.
One remarkable trait about Gen Z workers is their enthusiasm and willingness to learn new things. Though in some circles trucking has a reputation for being slow to adapt and having fewer cutting edge technologies, when you think about professional driver training and development from the perspective of Gen Z, you'll soon find ways to build out experiential learning for drivers that translates into professional development.
As a CDL driver recruiter, it’s important to work with your operations team to develop clear paths for growth within your company. Whether this means new management tracks, leadership roles, or salary tiers, having levels your drivers can work towards will entice Gen Z applicants and encourage your entire fleet to continue to grow their skills and engagement as drivers. Having a strong professional development programs is also a great way to strengthen your reputation in the marketplace, as it shows you are loyal to your drivers and want to continue to enrich your relationship with those drivers to retain them for the long term.
Create new ways driver communication and engagement pathways.
Alongside their penchant for mobile, Gen Z drivers are also open to sharing their opinions freely. There are great ways to tap into this tendency by encouraging your most engaged younger truck drivers to share their driving experiences on social media, and gathering their feedback for collaboration throughout the fleet. To boost driver retention of incoming Gen Z drivers, create new, collaborative avenues of communication between your department, management, and other drivers.
Whether you build a company-specific app where drivers can submit ideas or have a driver-only message board where they can engage and converse with each other, ensure there are social aspects to your communication pathways. Also remember that while social communication channels are important, you shouldn’t lose sight of human interaction. Because Gen Z is such an ‘on’ generation, they will appreciate the importance of a personal phone call or conversation. Find an in-between sweet spot for maximum driver engagement and retention!
If you’re looking to overcome the industry-wide driver shortage, it’s time to look to Gen Z drivers to fill the gaps. Start recruiting in the modern world – request your demo of DriverReach today!