TMC fleet exec panel: Labor force average age must come down

If fleets are going to survive long-term, their labor force is going to have to get younger, according to a panel held this week at the Technology & Maintenance Council of American Trucking Associations Fall Meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Mark Warsofsky, M&M Transport Services; Robert Sellers, Reliable Carriers; John Erwin, Saddle Creek Transportation; and Claude Masters, Florida Power & Light, each spelled out how they’re attacking a driver and technician shortage coupled with an aging workforce.

Warsofsky says the shortage of drivers and mechanics is getting to be a serious problem, and that the industry can’t grow and prosper without training from within and looking at the high school level.

“We’re very focused on trying to bring some young people in,” he says. “The industry is (currently) driven by people in age of the high 30s into their 50s and 60s, and we’re going to need some help to get over this hump.”

Sellers says innovations in recruiting are needed to bring in new blood and stub the practice of stealing employees from one another – a practice that doesn’t solve the issue of a shrinking labor pool.
Masters says the most challenging aspect of bringing in new recruits is they lack some of the peripheral skills fleets value from their most seasoned drivers.

“These are just skilled electricians who happen to drive a truck,” he says of veteran drivers.

Also challenging is the new generation of employees has a different outlook than veterans, and enter the labor force with different expectations.

“The most effective way of keeping employees is to provide workplace incentives; provide a work life balance,” he says.

“Younger generations are more interested in their own personal time,” Masters adds, noting its no longer about how many hours they can work and how much money they can make.
“It’s very much about their time at home, now.”

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