How Canada’s Top Fleet Employers buck the trends

November 28, 2019 by Angela Splinter

Trucking HR Canada’s Top Fleet Employers program is not a competition – it’s a way to recognize companies that showcase this industry as a great place to work, attract a new generation of employees, and set standards that we all can learn from as we promote the positives of working in trucking and logistics.

High human resources (HR) standards are vital to the industry’s ability to compete for talented and skilled workers. The stakes are rising, considering the changing demographics of the workforce.

According to our Labour Market Information research:

  • Only 9.5% of truck drivers in Canada are younger than 30 years old, compared to 24% of the entire Canadian labor force.
  • Only 28% of truck drivers are younger than 40, compared to 45% of the entire Canadian labor force.
  • 32% of truck drivers are 55 or older. Only 21% of the entire Canadian labor force is that age.
  • Nearly 7% of truck drivers are 65 or older. Only 4% of all Canadians are still working after retirement age.

Our Top Fleet Employers are showing leadership in bucking these trends. They do this by including human resources in their strategic business plans. They embrace a training culture and commit to diversity and workplace inclusion. And they communicate effectively with staff, leading to engaged, productive employees.

Compare how our Top Fleet Employers stack up against the industry and Canada’s labor market as whole:

  • Of our Top Fleets, 35% have 4% or more female drivers, and 25% have 25% or more females in leadership.
  • These fleets are able to attract younger workers: 25% have 20% or more drivers who are 35 and younger, and 56% have 20% or more workers in this age group in non-driving positions. These percentages are above the national average as cited in our recent Labour Market Information.
  • Our Top Fleets recognize the importance of on-boarding: 92% have a comprehensive formal orientation process, which leads to higher retention, particularly among drivers.

While many of our Top Fleet Employers go above and beyond industry compensation benchmarks, it is clear that their employees also value the culture around them. Our surveys consistently have comments from employees saying how much they value feeling like “family,” how much they appreciate being listened to, and how much they actually enjoy coming to work every day.

Our Top Fleet Employers also take care of their wider communities by supporting charitable causes. Nearly 92% of these companies are actively involved in community and charitable initiatives that reach well beyond their payrolls and purchasing practices.

We know that charitable endeavors like these are valued by younger workers in the labor pool. Our own millennial research shows that young people want to work for organizations that help them make an impact, and make them feel they are a part of something bigger.

Collectively, it is these approaches and commitments that help to raise the profile of the trucking industry as a great place to work.

And based on the numbers, this matters more than ever.

Women with Drive: The journey continues

December 11th, 2019 by Angela Splinter

On Dec. 3 in Ottawa, Trucking HR Canada, along with partners from across the country, wrapped up our “Women with Drive Hits the Road” tour.

The initiative builds on the success of the national Women with Drive leadership summit that takes place in March each year, in Toronto, as well as the popular Western Women with Drive event hosted in partnership with the Alberta Motor Transport Association.

From St. Bruno, Quebec, through to Surrey, B.C., our Hits the Road tour delivered full rooms and fulsome conversation. It gave us the opportunity to connect, converse, and celebrate women in the trucking and logistics industry.

I asked my team members at Trucking HR Canada to highlight some key take-aways from the 2019 tour, and here they are:

 

Mentorship, sponsorship, and support

We heard from successful women that it is vital to be in an environment that encourages relationships with mentors, sponsors, champions, and others who can provide a strong support network even outside of work.

Managers and leaders should consider how they can provide latitude for staff to take calculated risks that move outside what is easy for them so they can develop and grow. Workplaces need to be inclusive, with one panelist talking about something as simple as having “female-friendly” fitting uniforms. Another talked about policies and training to ensure that all staff—men and women—have safe and appropriate options for sleeping while on the road with a co-worker.

 

Focus on opportunities

We talk a lot about the fact that trucking is a male-dominated profession. But during our tour we also heard that we should stop emphasizing it. Women are not only filling jobs in the industry, they’re taking prominent roles and showing others how to make the most of their opportunities.

In St. Bruno, a panel of women truck drivers contributed their perspectives about how carriers can make workplaces more welcoming to women drivers, while retaining women who are already there. Camo-Route presented their “Women Drivers: Objective 10%” project to increase the percentage of women truck drivers in Quebec from 4% to 10%. They rolled out two trucks completely wrapped in pink, which made a splash.

In Surrey, B.C., one woman brought her teenaged daughter to our event. She said she would pay for all of her children to get their license to drive because the trucking industry has good jobs that will always be there. (Wow! If we could only get our governments to do the same.)
Female entrepreneurs in Regina commented that women need to “just do it” and have the confidence to propel themselves forward in their workplace, whether it’s behind the wheel or stepping up to bigger roles in the shop or office.

In Ottawa, government representatives from a number of agencies had their own myths dispelled as we highlighted the progressive and modern approaches our industry is taking when it comes to gender diversity.

 

Communication is key

Numerous panelists, including our Toronto stop, spoke about the need for young women in particular to seek support when they need it, and that all women in the industry should see themselves as ambassadors for their profession.

Another recurring theme, elaborated on with our panelists in Manitoba, is that conversations about mentorship, opportunities, and diversity aren’t for women only. Everyone should have a voice.

My favorite comment during our tour came in Surrey when one of our panelists was asked, “What question are you most tired of hearing on the topic of women in the workforce?”

Her response: “There isn’t one.”

The conversation continues on March 12 in Toronto at our national Women with Drive event. Learn more here.

And stay tuned about our “Hits the Road” tour in 2020.

Dollars and Sense

October 22, 2019 by Angela Splinter

Everyone wants to be paid well and paid fairly. And employers want to be competitive with their compensation. It’s good business to make sure what you’re offering is up to date, on trend, and able to both meet the needs of your workers and attract your next generation of employees.

Let’s look at three things to consider:

Hourly pay

Last year the demand for freight services significantly outpaced the supply of qualified drivers, which in turn put strong pressure on wages. Our latest labour market information research shows significant changes in compensation for truck drivers in 2018, often involving double-digit percentage increases.

To attract prospective drivers, there seems to be a shift away from mileage pay toward hourly pay, especially in the long-haul segment. While this approach would require some operational changes, employers are noting that hourly pay is easier for younger workers to understand and makes it simpler to calculate overtime pay for truck drivers.

Total compensation

Total compensation refers to the overall value of what you are offering your employees in both direct and indirect benefits. Direct benefits include wages or salary, while indirect benefits include bonuses, vacation days, allowances for tuition and training, uniform allowances, and other items not reflected on a paycheque.

It’s important to identify everything you offer and to communicate them to your staff, especially your drivers. In a market where drivers frequently compare pay packages, your ability to clearly explain the total compensation you offer will help them make informed decisions before jumping ship – and to accurately explain their pay and benefits to drivers in their “grapevine.”

Our website has templates that can assist here. If you are not currently providing total rewards statements to your employees, this is something you may want to look at.

It’s important to identify everything you offer and to communicate them to your staff, especially your drivers.

Tailored benefits

There are numerous ways you can shape your benefits package to the needs of your workers. The most important step is to engage employees in this conversation so you can identify things that matter most to them and incorporate them into a tailored pay package.

One example is a focus on financial wellness. With a large percentage of the trucking workforce nearing retirement, this is a real concern for a lot of workers. A recent survey by the Canadian Payroll Association shows that 43% of workers are so financially stressed that their performance suffers.

Including financial wellness in an overall benefits plan can not only make your offering more competitive, it will genuinely help employees’ peace of mind while also improving productivity.

Communication

Your employees need to know – and understand – their compensation package. Through effective onboarding, regular staff meetings, or through the various channels you use to communicate with your employees, make sure your employees are informed.

Clearly articulating and explaining in detail the total value of employment to employees could be a deciding factor in whether they stay with you or leave. And in a labour market where employees are focused on their bottom dollar, it just makes sense that you do everything you can to make them stay.

Understanding the Dispatcher

October 21, 2019 by By Craig Faucette

The trucking industry devotes a lot of attention to the recruitment and retention of drivers. This makes sense, as truck drivers represent more than 45% of the industry’s workers.

But other occupations in trucking and logistics deserve consideration, too.

Our report, “Labour Market Information: Interim Report September 2019,” profiles a wide range of job types, including technicians, material handlers, office administrators, human resources staff, and supervisors.

One of the most essential occupations is dispatchers, who make up about 2% of the workforce but play a substantial and unique role in the industry.

From the 2016 Census data, which is the most current data available from Statistics Canada, we know:

  • There are 16,730 dispatchers working in Canada’s trucking and logistics industry
  • Regionally, 12% of these dispatchers are in B.C.; 15% in Alberta; 7% in Saskatchewan and Manitoba; 39% in Ontario; 22% in Quebec; and 5% in Atlantic Canada
  • Women make up 39% of the dispatcher workforce
  • 19% of dispatchers are newcomers to Canada
  • 19% are visible minorities
  • 4% of dispatchers are Indigenous

As well, there is a strong cohort of millennials-31% of dispatchers are between the ages of 15 and 35. On the other end of the spectrum, 17% of dispatchers are over the age of 55.

Dispatchers tend to be educated. Nearly 42% of dispatchers have their high school diploma and an additional 34% have post-secondary education.

Put the Data to Work

Employers can apply this Census data to dispatcher recruitment and retention, shaping their policies and practices to better support their staff.

For example, with 17% of dispatchers over the age of 55, employers may want to pay closer attention to retirement rates among their workers, and potentially focus their recruitment efforts on replacing those retiring workers.

With 31% of dispatchers between the ages of 15 and 34, employers may want to place more attention on maternal/parental leave policies or flexible work arrangements in order to appeal to this important demographic.

Another issue to consider is how technology is affecting dispatchers and the requirements of the job.

Will new technology change the need for dispatchers, which could result in employment levels going up or down? Will it require job candidates with more training or education? We will continue to monitor the skill requirements and changes within the labour market as technology continues to affect how the industry works.

Help Us Complete the Picture

The available data provides a snapshot of who is currently working within the industry. It gives us a clear view of their demographic makeup, education levels, and where people are working.

But government surveys provide only part of the labour-market picture.

We are currently asking employers to complete a more focused, industry-specific survey that will help us fill in some of the blanks in the StatsCan data. We need as many employers as possible to complete it so we can ensure the information we report is as accurate and representative of the industry as possible.

Our survey will be open until the end of October and can be accessed here.

If you are an employer or work in HR for a truck fleet, we hope you can take time to complete this survey.

As we continue our labour market information project, we will be releasing more data as it becomes available, along with our final report in Spring 2020. Subscribe to our newsletter to ensure you remain on top of all of the updates.

Big HR Tips for Small Fleets

October 7, 2019 by Angela Splinter

No matter the size of the company, a business cannot thrive without a team of reliable, competent, well-managed people.

And smaller companies face more challenges in this regard.

Small business owners often have a strong understanding of their industry but not necessarily how to manage people, or they take on responsibilities that span various management roles.

Under these circumstances, it’s hard for small businesses to give HR the attention it needs.

This is especially true in trucking and logistics. According to Trucking HR Canada’s labour market information, the vast majority of trucking firms in Canada have fewer than 20 employees.

Clearly, with so many small carriers in the industry, there’s a need for HR guidance and support.

We are here to help. Let’s take a look at some tips for small fleets:

Know the law

No small business owner can be aware of every employment and labour code law. But they should at a minimum be familiar with the big ones.

Whether you’re provincially or federally regulated impacts which laws you need to comply with, and knowing the difference will matter. For instance, federally regulated companies are affected by many new Canada Labour Code changes. We are working to support employers in this regard, and subscribing to our newsletter will help keep you in the know.

Document your HR policies and approaches

Put your HR policies and approaches in writing. This can be in the form of an employee handbook or a policy manual. Regardless, it’s important to clearly state the standards of behaviour in your organization and how things should be done.

Well-written guidelines and policies provide a basis for resolving problems fairly and consistently. They can also serve to keep your workplace practices in compliance with employment and labour standards.

Put your HR policies and approaches in writing.

Onboard effectively

Getting off to a good start means you should have an onboarding program for all new hires, no matter the size of your company. This is particularly important for your drivers.

Your onboarding program gives you the opportunity to review your handbook or organizational policies and clarify things like how and when people will get paid; your culture, goals, and business objectives; and your performance expectations. These are all important factors that will support a positive work environment where employees know what they can expect from you and what you expect from them in return.

Consider out-sourcing

With you and your employees likely wearing many hats, consider outsourcing your HR functions. There are a variety of payroll services, HR software platforms, or HR consulting firms that can help. And, when it comes to employment and labour standards, you may even consider the services of an employment law lawyer.

Outsourcing gives you access to the professional services you need when you need them, while also managing risk, and allowing you to focus on other aspects of the business.

Learn from others

Clearly, there are many companies out there like you! And there are ample opportunities for networking. From local transportation clubs to provincial and national associations, find a group that works for you and use these opportunities to learn from others.

And don’t discount the larger trucking and logistics industry association events that you may think are more suited for larger companies. I have heard from many small fleet owners about the learning and business benefits they get from attending and being a part of these groups.

…find a group that works for you and use these opportunities to learn from others.

Highlight your unique offerings

Small companies have unique qualities that make them stand out from the competition. Do you have a welcoming, family-friendly work environment? Do you offer profit sharing or unique revenue-sharing approaches? Do you have regular routes, or flexible work arrangements?

Small fleets often don’t recognize the various things they do that make them attractive. Talk to current employees and find out what keeps them with you, and highlight this in your recruitment efforts.

Overall, remember that effective HR approaches are important for businesses of all sizes. Make sure they become a key part of your business strategy, then watch your business grow.

LMI Interim Report

OTTAWA, ON (September 26, 2019) – Trucking HR Canada has released an interim labour market information report with the most up-to-date, and accurate workforce data currently available for the Canadian trucking and logistics industry.

Trucking HR Canada has partnered with The Conference Board of Canada and has produced a preliminary, interim report highlighting current occupational representation, vacancy rates, workforce demographics and more.

“We are working to ensure the industry as a whole and employers have accurate, relevant and timely labour market information”, says Angela Splinter, CEO of Trucking HR Canada. Interim findings show a high vacancy rate, and overall employment growth combined with low unemployment and an upward surge in wages. “All compelling evidence the industry faces a driver shortage.”

In addition to this report, Trucking HR Canada continues to seek input from employers through a comprehensive, national labour market information survey.

To participate in the survey visit: www.truckinghr.com/truckingsurvey

To access the report visit: https://truckinghr.com/lmi

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This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program (SIP)

Trucking HR Canada is a national partnership-based organization that is dedicated to developing, sharing and promoting the trucking industry’s best practices in human resources and training.

For further information, contact:
Bridget O’Shaughnessy
Manager, Marketing and Communications
[email protected]
613-244-4800 x 302

Trucking HR Canada to Pilot Job Placements

OTTAWA, ON (July 30, 2019) – Trucking HR Canada is embarking on a new project focused on supporting employers in better connecting with under-represented groups. The initiative will focus on piloting job placements with people with disabilities.

Roughly 20% of the population aged 15 or over — 6.2 million Canadians — are affected by a disability that limits their daily activities in one way or another. And according to the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability, only 59% of those between 25 and 64 are employed.

Working in partnership with employment services groups – the project will support employers, employees and potential new hires in obtaining and/or maintaining employment in the industry.

Specific activities include:

A job placement framework, and pilot for persons with disabilities interested in careers within the trucking and logistics sector. This will include wage subsidies for employers.

A coaching and mentoring resource for employers designed to support the onboarding and retention of persons with disabilities

There will be a limited number of placements available for this pilot project with the aim of supporting individuals with long-term employment opportunities.

“People with disabilities often face barriers in entering the workforce, and this pilot project will help the industry better address them,” Says Angela Splinter, CEO of Trucking HR Canada, “As we continue to innovate our recruitment and retention approaches, this pilot provides a practical approach to support employers in diversifying their workplaces.”

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Trucking HR Canada is a national partnership-based organization that is dedicated to developing, sharing and promoting the trucking industry’s best practices in human resources and training.

For further information, contact:
Bridget O’Shaughnessy
Manager, Marketing and Communications
[email protected]
613-244-4800 x 302

Millennials Have Drive 2

OTTAWA, ON (July 23, 2019) – Trucking HR Canada has launched a new report, Millennials Have Drive 2, examining the findings from research conducted through Abacus Data, which surveyed over 2000 millennials across Canada to find out why they aren’t entering the trucking and logistics industry. The report, which builds on the Millennials have Drive roadmap, provides practical tips and insights on how employers can be more successful in recruiting from the millennial talent pool in an age where competition is high for qualified talent.

When looking at six industries, survey results showed that millennials gave the trucking transport industry the lowest positive impression (46 per cent “very good and good”), compared to the construction industry which got the highest positive impressions from millennials (68 per cent “very good and good”), making it trucking’s #1 competitor in recruiting millennials.

It’s not all bad news though. The report also identified warm trucker leads, finding that 12 per cent of millennials (approximately 1.1 million Canadians aged 18 to 36) are interested in a career in long-haul trucking. One of the biggest barriers to entry for this warm-leads group was time and money. Over one-third (38 per cent) think it’s overly expensive to pursue long-haul trucker training and get licensed, steering many into other industries, like construction.

Modernizing your HR approaches with flexible work arrangements, commitment to professional development and training and strong employee communication programs are only some of the recommendations that employers will find outlined in detail in the report.

Canada’s trucking industry wants and needs millennial employees. It’s evolving and it’s innovating, offering tremendous career opportunities for millennials to do satisfying, fulfilling work in a wide range of occupations.

To download your free copy of Millennials Have Drive 2, visit Trucking HR Canada’s website at: https://truckinghr.com/millennials

This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program.

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Trucking HR Canada is a national partnership-based organization that is dedicated to developing, sharing and promoting the trucking industry’s best practices in human resources and training.

For further information, contact:
Bridget O’Shaughnessy
Manager, Marketing and Communications
[email protected]
613-244-4800 x 302

Trucking HR Canada Launches New Project Focused on Indigenous Youth

OTTAWA, ON (June 25, 2019) – Trucking HR Canada, with support from Indigenous Services Canada, announced today a new project focused on Indigenous youth. Over the next year, Trucking HR Canada will be working in collaboration with Indigenous organizations to deliver career awareness resources to Indigenous youth in northern Canada.

As the fastest-growing demographic in the country, Indigenous youth, are largely under-represented across all occupations within the trucking and logistics industry. Ultimately, this project will provide an array of resource materials geared towards better serving the needs of this growing demographic. In partnership with Carcross/Tagish First Nations, a workshop will be held in 2020 to showcase these career awareness resources and tools in the Yukon.

“We are pleased to partner with Indigenous Services Canada, and the Carcross/Tagish First Nations in promoting the range of careers available in trucking and logistics.” Says Angela Splinter, CEO of Trucking HR Canada, “We will also work to build relationships with groups that can help our employers better connect with all labour pools.”

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC)’s First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy (FNIYES) is part of the Government of Canada’s effort to enhance Indigenous Canadians’ education, participation in the labour market and economic success.

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Trucking HR Canada is a national partnership-based organization that is dedicated to developing, sharing and promoting the trucking industry’s best practices in human resources and training.

For further information, contact:
Bridget O’Shaughnessy
Manager, Marketing and Communications
[email protected]
613-244-4800 x 302

 

A Modern HR Approach Is Based on Sound Labour Market Information

May 14, 2019 by Angela Splinter

Modernizing your workforce starts with modernizing your HR approach.”

In today’s labour market, successful truck fleets and logistics companies know that staying abreast of the issues will help them stay ahead of the competition. Follow our “Modernizing Your HR Approach” blog series as we navigate emerging trends and share tips for finding, hiring, and retaining the talent you need.

Concerns about finding and retaining drivers is a constant theme in our conversations with fleet managers, to the point where carriers are parking trucks and turning away business.

We also know that the industry’s HR challenges run deeper than the driver pool. Trucking and logistics companies are telling us how difficult it can be to compete with other industries for IT workers, administrative personnel, and more.

Clearly, attracting and retaining all types of workers is a problem that we need to understand and solve.

We’re on it.

Trucking HR Canada is currently compiling labour market data that will put this industry’s hiring, training, and retention issues in perspective, help identify key challenges, and develop tools and mechanisms to effectively address them.

Initial findings reveal some important information about the driver shortage in Canada’s trucking industry. Here is what the data is telling us:

There are more drivers today – and more openings

The number of transport truck drivers employed in the Canadian economy has increased by almost 86,000 workers since 1996. That’s a whopping 37 percent gain, with more than 317,000 truckers employed in 2018.

However, trucking and logistics has one of the highest vacancy rates at 6.6%. We currently have more than 20,000 unfilled truck driver positions in Canada, more than double the number of vacant driver positions we had in 2016.

Unemployment among truck drivers is 34 percent lower than the average in the Canadian workforce. In fact, between 2016 and 2018, the unemployment rate for Canadian truck drivers decreased from 6.6 percent to 3.8 percent.

Demographic changes are a threat and an opportunity

When you consider that 60 percent of truck drivers in Canada are over the age of 45, and half of those workers will be eligible to retire in the next three to five years, it’s no wonder so many employers are unable find the experienced drivers they need to fill over 20,000 vacant positions.

Let’s not forgot about millennials. Less than 18 percent of truck drivers in Canada are from the millennial generation-people born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s-compared to 34 percent in the overall workforce.

And by now we all should know these stats on women: according to Statistics Canada, 97% of truck drivers are male, yet women make up close to 50% of the workforce.

Troubling data to say the least.

We need better data

More troubling is that the federal government and other public sources often produce data that tell only part of the story.

For example, Statistics Canada uses outdated definitions for the training, skills, and experience required to work in the trucking industry today. The compensation data is too broadly captured for it to mean anything. And the data does little to help clarify what changes the industry can expect in the future.

Other details are missing, too.

For example, when Statistics Canada compiles data on job postings, it ignores important information like the demand for specialized skills or licenses, like transporting dangerous goods; the number of short-haul versus long-haul jobs; how many vacancies are in private fleets compared to for-hire; and the list goes on.

Talk to us. We’re listening

To put this industry’s hiring and retention concerns into proper perspective, we need to talk to fleets directly. We’re here to listen.

Trucking HR Canada, in partnership with the Conference Board of Canada, will be reaching out to you to find out more. We want to hear from employers directly. It may take some of your time, but it is this primary data, combined with the statistical data, that will help us all better understand our HR problems.

This, in turn, will enable us to better articulate our needs to government, career seekers, and educational institutions.

Stay tuned, and we hope to have industry participation in this important work.