Although not every industry’s employee shortage is as concerning as those facing the trucking industry, there are still issues that all businesses face.
It’s hard to keep count of how many blogs and articles we’ve written and read regarding the truck driver and diesel technician shortage. And there’s no doubt that the industry is really feeling the pain of finding good qualified candidates to fill the positions. But the reality is that all industries are now in a tighter job market than would have seemed possible a decade ago. There are a few issues that are making recruiters’ jobs harder than ever:
- Unemployment numbers are low – We are, essentially at “full employment.” That makes it pretty much a “sellers” market for job-seekers since companies will be competing with one another to bring the best possible people on board. What makes the situation even more concerning is the changing demographic of the workforce. The “Baby Boomers” are retiring and, as such a major portion of the workforce, as they leave in large numbers, qualified personnel must be found, recruited and retained.
- Technology keeps advancing – As technology keeps changing, so do the skillsets needed by today’s workers, including drivers who now have to work with new technology and technicians who have to maintain and repair complex vehicles. Automation and robotics are changing manufacturing, banking, retail, healthcare…literally every industry you can think of. Since technology is not static and is constantly advancing, employees’ must continually upgrade their existing skillsets. The interesting phenomenon is that rather than eliminating jobs, technology has created newer, more strategic jobs for those in the workforce leaving most industries needing either more skilled workers or at least remaining at the current level.
- Millennials have different expectations – In a recent IdeaXchange blog, Jane Clark, Vice President of Member Services for NationaLease, talked about the need to build a career path within the company as a way of attracting these younger workers. As Jane notes, “…millennials want to know that you have given some thought to their place in your business going forward. If they don’t see a way to advance within your company, chances are they are not going to come work for you.” We need these younger workers as they are tech-savvy and most are looking to stay with a company they feel appreciates them. But they also have little problem with moving around should their experience with the company not match their initial expectations.
Businesses need to plan for the future
Where companies tend to be myopic, notes Jane, is in not looking at career advancement as essential not only to employees but to the very viability of the business itself. She suggests that companies identify those younger workers who can be moved into management positions in five or ten years and provide the necessary training and education to get them there. Otherwise, your most experience and older managers will retire and you’ll be left with a void in leadership roles. It’s never too early to start assessing who will fill those roles in the future.