2021 Employer Survey: Top Employer Challenge – Truck Driver Labour Shortages

By: Tanara Ferguson

 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, trucking and logistics businesses have faced many challenges including: increased health and safety regulations, supply chain backlogs, fluctuating demand for their services, rising input prices, and changing workforce needs.

As vaccines have become available and the economy recovers, what will the new normal look like for our industry?

This past summer, as part of Trucking HR Canada’s (THRC) labour market information (LMI) work, we surveyed employers to better understand how the sector’s employment and business activity is changing, the challenges companies are now facing, and the supports the sector will need moving forward.

These employer surveys are an important component of this work – work which includes our specialized analysis of publicly available sources, including Statistics Canada’s census and other labour force surveys, augmented with data directly from employers to fill in the gaps.

Here, are the results.

1 – Top Employer Challenge – Truck Driver Labour Shortages

Over 75% of employers expect a shortage of truck drivers to be a challenge in the next 6 months, over 50% indicating that it will be their top challenge. Recruiting truck drivers was also identified as the most challenging HR task. Labour shortages for non-truck driver positions is also top of mind with 46% of respondents indicating that this too would be a challenge.

2 – Companies carrying non-essential* goods had lower revenues in 2020

51% of companies experienced a decrease in revenues in 2020 compared to 2019, with businesses carrying non-essential goods more likely to experience that decrease – 65%, compared to those companies carrying essential goods – 38%.

* Non-essential companies are defined as those for which essential goods account for less than 50% of transported goods. In turn, essential companies are defined as those for which essential goods make up more than 50% of what their company transports.

3 – Truck driver employment is rebounding

Truck driver employment is rebounding.  Amongst respondents a 5.3% decrease in truck driver employment was reported between 2019 and 2020, it then rebounds by 1.7% in 2021, 3.7% below its 2019 level.

4 – Companies continue to struggle with driver shortages

Of the survey respondents, 67% were unable to fill all the driver positions they needed this past year. Larger companies struggled more with over 80% of those with revenues over $25 million unable to fill their driver positions.

Employers indicated that lower numbers of applicants, applicants with low levels of experience, increasing retirement rates and increasing employee initiated turn over were factors that contributed to the shortage.

5 – Smaller companies have been slower to recover

41% of smaller companies (those with revenues less then $5 million) reported business activity below pre-pandemic levels compared to only 26% of companies with revenues above $5 million.

On average, companies with business levels below pre-pandemic levels (31% of respondents) expect to return to pre-pandemic levels in 14 months.

As we continue to work in supporting employers in meeting their HR challenges, here are some practical solutions that can help:

Our Career ExpressWay program has several financial incentives that can help. Our youth driver training subsidies, wage subsidies, and new student work placement program directly support the onboarding of younger workers.

And, new this fall, THRC will be releasing five resource guides to help industry employers and HR managers tackle the most pressing HR issues.

Call to participate – Are you interested in exploring new solutions to old, yet ongoing industry problems? To have these discussions, THRC is assembling a group of diverse, forward-thinking, innovators and leaders. To learn more visit: National Trucking HR Transformative Change Group | Trucking HR

Want to learn more? Visit our website today at truckinghr.com and be sure to sign up for our weekly newsletter while you are there.  Watch for upcoming information sessions too that can help you access our financial incentives.

The new pay equity agenda – 7 steps to compliance

By: Marisha Tardif

On August 31st, 2021, the Pay Equity Act and its Regulations will enter into force, creating new requirements for federally regulated employers with 10 or more employees. The new legislation  requires employers to be proactive in eliminating wage gaps between men and women in the workplace, ensuring equal pay for work of equal value across job classes.

To achieve this, employers need to meet a series of obligations that revolve around the creation of a pay equity plan.

Below are 7 steps to help you understand and comply with the new pay equity agenda.

STEP 1 – Post a notice in your workplace

By November 1st, 2021, employers must post a notice to their employees announcing the creation of a pay equity plan and  a pay equity committee – if a pay equity committee is required.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission has published a free template and guidance sheet to help employers develop a workplace notice. Click here to learn more.

STEP 2 – Create your pay equity committee

Once you have posted your notice, you will need to get to work on your pay equity plan. You may be required to set up a pay equity committee to create the plan.

Trucking HR Canada has developed a fact sheet to help you learn more about pay equity committees and whether you are required to create one.  Click here to download this resource.

STEP 3 – Develop your pay equity plan

To develop a pay equity plan, employers need to follow a specific process,  requiring you to gather data and perform calculations to evaluate compensation across job classes.

Creating a pay equity plan is a complex and time-consuming process. It is a good idea for employers to review requirements and start taking steps towards creating your pay equity plan as soon as possible. Again, we have you covered.  Click here to consult a list of the information you will require to create your plan, as detailed by the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

STEP 4 – Post the draft pay equity plan and receive feedback from your employees

Once your draft pay equity plan is complete, employers must post the plan with a notice informing employees that they have 60 days to provide comments. Once this feedback is collected, employers will be required to finalize their pay equity plan by August 31st, 2024.

STEP 5 – Communicate any increases in employee compensation and pay these out

Once the final pay equity plan has been posted in year 3, employers must also increase compensation within any job classes that are not receiving equal pay for work of equal value. Employees must be notified of any pay increases in advance of the company paying these out. Depending on the employer’s size and circumstances, these pay increases must either be paid out in full on the day after the final pay equity plan is posted, or within 3 to 5 years (provided the employer is eligible for a phased implementation approach).

STEP 6 – Submit your first annual statement

At the end of year 3, employers need to submit an annual statement to the Pay Equity Commissioner regarding their pay equity plan and the pay increases that have been identified within it.

STEP 7 – Monitor and update your pay equity plan

At least once every five years, employers will have to review and update their pay equity plans to account for any pay equity gaps that may have appeared since posting their initial plan.

Stay tuned for more information

Trucking HR Canada is here to support employers with labour-related compliance requirements, including those stemming from changes to the Canada Labour Code and from changes to help achieve wage fairness. We work in partnership with industry associations, government agencies and more in ensuring you have the practical resources and tools needed to support HR excellence.

Follow us and check out our website as we plan for more informational sessions, webinars and more.

Plan now for a healthy economic rebound

By: Angela Splinter

May 11, 2021

We’re all pining for post-pandemic life. As vaccine rollouts make this possible, and we fill offices, restaurants, stadiums and hotels again, Canada needs a healthy trucking and logistics industry to help carry the economy.

We’re responsible for moving more than $850 billion in goods each year and employ more than 650,000 workers. What’s more, trucking and logistics businesses support virtually every other industry in Canada, including manufacturing, construction, farming, oil and gas, forestry and more.

COVID-19 has both confirmed and emphasized that truck transportation is one of Canada’s most important commercial and economic sectors. It’s essential that we’re operating at full strength.

Labour challenges

According to our latest economic assessments and labour market information (LMI), the pandemic has only made HR management a higher priority especially when it comes to over-the-road truck drivers. Here’s what the data tells us:

  • Demand for drivers: We project truck driver vacancies in Canada to surpass 25,000 by 2023, a 25% increase compared to 2019. We expect vacancies to rise for other occupations as well. By 2023, the need for drivers is expected to be greater than our baseline pre-COVID-19 projections due to increased demand for trucking services as the economy reopens.

 

  • Demographic changes: The average worker in trucking and logistics is older than in other industries, with 27% of workers over the age of 55 compared to 21% in the general labour force. On average, 13,675 workers retire from trucking each year. Our aging workforce further fuels the labour shortage.

 

  • New entries: Workers coming into the industry are largely made up of new entries or entries from other occupations. In fact, about 54,000 inexperienced workers are expected to enter the sector each year to 2023, a signal that training needs may be significant.

 

  • Labour supply gaps remain: The supply of workers in our industry is only projected to grow by about 5,600 people per year. This net growth is a function of inflows (new entries and entries from other occupations, immigration and non-permanent residents) and outflows of workers (retirements and other attrition). Importantly, this growth will not be enough to meet the expected employment demand over the same period.

What does it all mean? We need skilled workers. How do we get there? Let’s take a look:

More financial incentives are coming. Apply now and avoid delays later

Our Career ExpressWay Program is gearing up for more wage subsidies designed to get more young people to work in our industry. The program offers financial incentives specifically for truck transportation and logistics employers. The time has never been better for us to recruit young workers. They need work, and we have work.

As with all government programs, there is some paperwork involved. Get pre-approved today and be ahead of the competition come summer. With wage subsidies ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 per young person, the extra time is worth it.

To learn more, visit our website and/or reach out to John today at [email protected].

Workplace harassment and violence requirements: Comply now so you can focus on other HR matters later

All federally regulated employers are required to comply with Canada’s new Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations that came into force in January of this year.  Employers need to have proper policies in place, a designated recipient in place, and more.  Your entire workforce needs to complete compliant training by December 31, 2021.  All this to say, it’s a little more complicated than you may think.

As an employer, you need to:

  • Complete a risk assessment and implement preventive measures
  • Create emergency procedures to protect staff from harassment and violence
  • Prepare and communicate a compliant workplace policy
  • Be ready to receive complaints and follow the required resolution process
  • Provide information and support to targets of harassment and violence
  • Have a designated recipient who is specially trained on the regulations
  • Ensure that all managers and supervisors receive specific training given their role
  • Train all employees on the new regulations
  • Ensure your record keeping is in line with Labour Canada requirements

Our website and on-line learning centre have policy templates, how-to guides, checklists and all the on-line training resources you need. Our resources are free and the training is cost effective. Developed in partnership with Labour Canada, the Canadian Trucking Alliance and all provincial associations, employment lawyers, labour representatives and more, Trucking HR Canada has you covered. Feel to reach out to Michella today at [email protected].

Top Fleet Employers

Our Top Fleet Employers are leaders in promoting a positive image of trucking and logistics and offering great places to work. We are proud to see this program grow each year, with 77 fleets recognized this year.

Stay tuned for our 2021 best practices report that will showcase recruitment and retention initiatives that work for our Top Fleets, which means they may work for you, too.  And if you are a leader in terms of your HR approaches, contact us today to learn how you can be recognized while also accessing many other program perks, including pre-approval for wage subsidies.

Feel free to reach out to Alero at [email protected].

We all want our industry’s employees and businesses to be in good health physically, mentally and financially. Canada’s economy needs us more than ever.

Taking some of these steps today will help get your business on track.

Marking a decade

By: Angela Splinter

May 4, 2021

This week marks my 10-year anniversary working in the trucking and logistics sector.

Always a keener and up for a challenge, I came here ready to make a difference.

Having worked in other industries doing the type of HR work I am doing now, I saw the opportunities that trucking and logistics present. The industry is an economic powerhouse with one of the country’s largest workforces. It also faces onerous and longstanding HR issues.

I was excited and enthusiastic to get to work.

But not for long. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I had a bit of a rocky road ahead, but not for the reasons you may think.

Yes, I was a young woman, ready to lead and get things done in one of the most male-dominated industries in the country. But what caused me strife were the organization’s significant financial burdens which I discovered during my first few weeks on the job.

In addition, just two months in I received notice that 95% of my operational funding would be cut within 12 months.

While an early exit certainly crossed my mind, I decided to give it five years.

What followed was me walking into an association board meeting feeling like the only woman in the room (I was in fact one of two at the time). For the record, that did not concern me. I had an organization to save, and I needed all hands to help me do that.

And that’s exactly what happened. Here I am, 10 years later reminiscing about the journey.

I am fortunate to have mentors, champions and sponsors who took the time to help me along the way. I will share a few:

  • David Bradley, the previous President and CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance. David and I frequently disagreed and sometimes argued. When I realized he was in fact like this with everyone, I reached out to David more often. When I began to observe him sometimes taking on my ideas and using some of my language, I knew he was getting it. David always took the time to let me talk things through, tell me what he thought I should do and then support me when I did my own thing.
  • Mike McCarron, Left Lane Associates and former partner at MSM Transportation. Now don’t fall out of your chair, folks. One of the first events I worked on with Mike had him picking me up at the airport with his daughter in tow. Mike’s family is a cottaging family like mine, and I found an instant connection. I often leaned on Mike for his industry insights, connections and, to be honest, when I just needed a good laugh.
  • John G. Smith, Newcom Media. Back before he was the editorial director at Newcom, publisher of Today’s Trucking and trucknews.com, John was a communications consultant, albeit one with loads of trucking industry experience. Let’s just say he taught me a thing or two and I always trusted his judgement . And there’s a theme: another cottager.

I’ve had the privilege of great team members at Trucking HR Canada. Some have come and gone over the years but each one was a part of the organization’s success. Today, I am proud of the progress we have made and that we can offer a compensation and benefits package that rivals the federal public service—our main competitor for talent in the Ottawa area.

I would be remiss if I did not mention my own rather large, personal bump along the way: my cancer diagnosis in the summer of 2017 was certainly a big one. I am grateful for the Board members who stepped up and did my job so I could make fighting cancer mine. I am in great health, three years into remission.

I also want to salute the women in this industry who inspire me every single day.

First, the other woman in the room at my first association meeting? She was Claudia Milicevic, head of Loadlink Technologies. I also want to mention Angelique Magi of Intact Insurance; Lorraine Card, former President of AMTA; Louise Yako, former BCTA President; Susan Ewart, President of the Saskatchewan Trucking Association; Joanne MacKenzie, Professional Truck Driver; Rebecka Freels, communications consultant; Vicki Stafford, Cavalier Transport;  Kathy Koras from Newcom Media; Michelle Arseneau of GX Transport; and Rachel Arseneau of GX Transport; Louise McCalpine, Snowbird Transport; Vicki McKibbon from Armour Transport; Linda Young from Bison; Caroline Blais from Kriska Transport; Rosana Preston from Rosedale Transport; Heather Day, President of Day Transport; Stephanie Theede of Westcan Bulk Transport; Myrna Chartrand, Professional Truck Driver; Shelley Uvanille-Hesch, CEO of the Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada; Margaret Hogg, ambassador for everything trucking; Lisa Kelly, Professional Truck Driver; and believe me, the list goes on.

While I work to not see my gender as a barrier, I have met many along the way who have had different experiences. The women of this industry motivate me to do more, and I proudly blaze the trail with them.

Today, Trucking HR Canada is an industry leader in all regards. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of making that happen. I have missed some, I am sure, but you all know who you are, and you are all leaders.

Together, we have made a difference and I am so proud to be a part of it.

Four Key Takeaways from Women with Drive 2021

By: Katrina Pizzino

Trucking HR Canada’s 7th Annual Women with Drive Leadership Summit kept the international women’s day celebratory vibes of women, women leaders, and women in the industry going full speed. While the event was a little different – being the first time it was held virtually and globally, we still brought together over 200 women from the industry to connect and learn from one another.  It left delegates with the regular high dose of inspiration along with practical and insightful take-aways from a roster of formidable speakers.

The Right Honorable Michaëlle Jean, who served as Governor General of Canada from 2005 to 2010, and Halla Tómasdóttir, Icelandic businessperson and CEO of the B Team, left us with a plethora of insights.  The 2021 Women with Drive stage provided me with four key takeaways from our keynote speakers:

We are Change Makers

Michaëlle Jean trumpeted the efforts the trucking industry has put forward. She noted that we have been heralded as heroes during this time of pandemic, saying that it is time for the invisible to become visible.  She noted that front line workers and those in the trucking industry are finally getting the public attention that they deserve, claiming that it is the hard workers in our industry who have suffered an inexcusable blind spot before the pandemic; and that it is time we recognize that we offer good meaningful work for hundreds of thousands of Canadians. What we do with this new attention and praise is key. Truck drivers notably, as Jean mentions have a remarkable and unique role in that they get to see sights many of us never will. This is perhaps a potential draw for recruiters to take note of. A philanthropist at heart, she also encouraged us to leverage our reach. She earnestly reminded us that our trucks are moving billboards for cause and positivity. This is what many of our Top Fleet Employers do when participating in various charitable causes such as: Plaid for Dad, Pink for the Cure, and Art Saves Lives.  We often forget to highlight this part of the trucking industry as an attraction – that it is not JUST trucking, it is so much more. It is a multitude of causes and action, and ingenuity. By highlighting the change maker abilities of our sector, Jean created a powerful united feeling of potential.

Employers have an opportunity

Michaëlle Jean also reminded us that the pandemic has created an opening for us to further investigate some of our collective societal issues. Saying, “In the same way lemon juice and a light bulb manifest invisible ink” – the pandemic has highlighted many core societal issues including, racism, sexism, homophobia, and ageism. Thus, perhaps the pandemic has helped to dismantle many of the things that are otherwise wrong with our current society. She challenges employers to use this moment for change and examine their own diversity and inclusion policies.

 

Women belong everywhere – including trucking

Halla Tómasdóttir reminded us of the “inner leader” that we all have. We need to confront our imposter feelings in order to excel and believe in our capabilities. And, as women, we need to stop doubting and questioning our abilities and our right to be in certain professional spaces. Women belong everywhere – and yes, that includes trucking. The pandemic, she noted, has brought about a time when women’s leadership is being noticed and recognized. Tómasdóttir reminded us that when women have a seat at the table, positive changes are made, and we see progress. For more women to be in leadership, young women need mentors and to see women who are succeeding at the highest levels.

No more business as usual

We may never go back to how things were before the pandemic – and Halla highlighted that this is not necessarily a bad thing. A lot was wrong with the world before and the pandemic is causing us to question what could ultimately, be better.  Maybe Canadians can continue to honour truckers and the entire trucking industry as essential work.  Perhaps we can embrace a future when trucking is more alluring to new and young workers. And certainly, with current unemployment rates, we have the possibility to invite and welcome people into our industry more than ever before.

The trucking industry is one of change, one that appreciates inclusion and diversity, one that encourages women’s leadership, and one that is filled with Women with Drive. Women with Drive Leadership Summit thus remains an important event for the trucking industry – because we still need and always will need, women with drive.

 

 

Supporting Women in Your Workplace: 5 Best Practices from Top Fleet Employers

By: Alero Okajugu

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace can help increase productivity, innovation, and employee retention, benefits that cannot be overstated in today’s business world.

Women are essential to diversity, but the trucking and logistics industry still falls short with just 15% of women in the workforce.

Trucking HR’s Top Fleet Employers Program recognizes and celebrates companies with innovative employment practices and policies, and several fleets have taken specific steps to improve their recruitment and retention of women.

In reviewing what these fleets have done to diversify and encourage inclusion in their workplace, here are five best practices that stand out.

 

Creating connections

 

By participating in industry events and creating formal and informal coaching and mentoring arrangements, Top Fleet Employers help women leverage networks that can lead to professional development opportunities in the industry. These initiatives include Trucking HR Canada’s Women with Drive event or partnering with Women Building Futures.

 

Targetted recruitment

 

Many of our Top Fleet Employers take a targeted approach to recruiting both men and women who want to work in a diverse environment. For instance, a hiring practice among many Top Fleet Employers is to ensure that job descriptions in recruiting ads are free of unconscious bias that may affect individuals applying for that role. We also see recruitment targeted at community groups that focus on women, and customized onboarding processes. These efforts make women feel like they belong and not like they must adapt to fit into the workplace.

 

Flexible work arrangements

 

97% of our Top Fleet Employers offer benefits, policies, and flexible work arrangements to support their employees and their families. Some examples are a policy that allows truck drivers decide when and where to shut down overnight; flexible start/stop times; being able to choose routes close to home; permission to have a family member in the cab; part-time work upon request; and separate facilities for women. Workplace flexibility fosters loyalty and a higher quality of life for the employee, which consequently benefits the employer.

 

Evaluate your training offerings

 

Top Fleet Employers are committed to offering training that supports a diverse and safe workforce. For example, they provide sensitivity training that addresses stereotypes and biases in the workplace. In the case of female drivers, safety and security remain a very big concern. In response, many employers have programs that include training in anti-harassment and violence in the workplace—an area for which Trucking HR Canada has developed industry-specific training.

 

 

If you’ve got it – flaunt it

 

Top Fleet Employers with a good percentage of female employees in various roles portray this in their recruitment tools. Pictures of women can be seen in their public postings, websites, and other social media platforms.

 

There is much to be done in order to increase the number of women in trucking and logistics. However, our Top Fleet Employers are leaders and have embraced a culture that continually encourages and supports women in the industry.

 

As we approach International Women’s Day on March 8, take a moment to consider how your organization is doing when it comes to recruiting and retaining women. If you need a place to start, visit THRC’s website for helpful resources.

Gender imbalance in trucking and logistics

By: Craig Faucette

Some jobs just seem to attract more workers of one gender than another. These patterns have more to do with long-standing biases about which industries and occupations are “better suited” to men or women than actual gender-based differences in knowledge, abilities, or career interests.

In trucking and logistics, men make up 85% of the workforce. The ratio of women to men drops even further in certain jobs such as truck driver (3% female) or technicians and mechanics (1.5% female).

In contrast, women account for 87% of general administrative workers, 85% of accounting staff, and 61% of HR staff.

These numbers are consistent across the industry: similar data show up on virtually every trucking association’s website around the world!

Is it the job or the industry?

Why does this gender imbalance exist?

Is it the reputation of the industry as being a male domain? Or that certain jobs are perceived as being inherently oriented toward men?

Our labour market information suggests that it may be both.

On one hand, the percentage of female mechanics working across all sectors of the economy is roughly the same as it is in trucking and logistics: 2%, compared with 1.5%. Perhaps the job just doesn’t appeal to women.

On the other hand, more that 50% of dispatchers in Canada are women compared to only 39% in trucking and logistics, suggesting that the industry is an issue.

THRC’s research, “Millennials Have Drive 2,” found that women make up about one third of the 1.1 million “warm leads” who say they might consider a job in trucking.

That’s more than 360,000 young women.

Where we are today

What do we know about women who already work in trucking?

Right now, about 97,000 women are working in Canada’s trucking and logistics industry and more than half are doing front-line jobs in shipping and receiving (21%); driving a truck (10%); driving for a local delivery or courier service (8%); dispatching (6%); or material handling (5%).

Another 21% of women in trucking work in administration, accounting, and human resources.

Fewer than 5% of the sector’s female employees are in management or supervisory positions. This small fraction in senior leadership no doubt contributes to the industry’s problems recruiting and retaining women.

Finding equilibrium

Highlighting the experiences and variety of career choices of women who already work in trucking and logistics could help companies appeal to more female leads.

And tapping into their workplace experiences would help us all better understand and address the gender-based challenges and barriers in our workforce. We must:

– Determine if the challenges our industry faces in attracting and retaining women are the same or different than those in other male-dominated industries.

– Study and learn from more gender-balanced sectors.

– Create a more balanced culture that appeals to diverse groups of people.

– Set clear, achievable, and measurable targets and KPIs for achieving a more gender balanced workforce in trucking and logistics.

With our industry facing severe labour shortages—on average, trucking and logistics has about 7,300 vacant jobs annually—women represent a vastly underutilized source of workers. The industry’s gender imbalance is a complex issue but one that requires us to think about the most appropriate strategies to get it right.

Understanding Canada’s Truck Driver Shortage

By: Angela Splinter

March 1, 2021

 

Is there a shortage of truck drivers in Canada? This question often sparks a heated debate—and more questions.

Is the labour market so tight right now that there are too few people to drive trucks? Are employers not doing enough to make the job attractive? With all the driver training, licensing, and safety requirements, is the bar too high for anyone to qualify?

 

They’re good questions, but whether there is a driver shortage isn’t a matter of opinion. The data provides the answer.

 

Trucking HR Canada’s Labour Market Information (LMI) provides ongoing actionable intelligence pertaining to the supply and demand of labour. Our own economist conducts regular analysis of Statistics Canada data, labour force data, our own surveys, and more, ensuring an accurate assessment of our industry’s needs.

Here is what we know:

 

  • There are nearly 20,000 vacant truck driver positions in Canada.
  • 61% of employers report they can’t find all the drivers they need.
  • 7.4% of all truck driver jobs are unfilled compared to 3.3% in other non-driver jobs.
  • The unemployment rate among truck drivers is much lower than the rest of the workforce. (6.2% for truck drivers as compared to 9.8% for the rest of the workforce). However, if every currently unemployed truck driver were hired into a vacant position, there would still be more than 11,000 unfilled jobs.

 

All economic indicators show a shortage of drivers. What there is no shortage of, however, are opinions and offers of quick fixes stemming from high-level politicians (who do not necessarily understand our industry dynamics) all the way to drivers themselves.

 

This is an ongoing, complex issue.

Truck fleets are having to adjust to freight conditions that didn’t exist 10 or 20 years ago. With e-commerce, the number of regional and local driving jobs is exploding, creating opportunities for drivers to work closer to home. Long-haul driving jobs today have a much higher vacancy rate than short-haul—9.4% compared to 5.9%.

Regulations play a role. The required use of ELDs and speed limiters means that some fleets have to add capacity in order to cover the same number of miles and maintain their service levels.

Training is an issue. Every year, about 28,000 new (inexperienced) drivers enter the industry to replace drivers who retired or otherwise left their jobs. These new workers require entry-level and specialized training before they can even start to drive independently and be ready to take the place of those experienced drivers who are leaving. This is a challenge compounded by the  pandemic.

Of course, there are always experienced drivers who are looking for work but can’t find a job that works for them.

So yes, there’s a shortage of drivers. And changes in the economy and freight markets haven’t made things easier with the passage of time.

 

We clearly need better ways of matching up job seekers, both new and experienced, with available work. Up-to-date and accurate LMI data, like the kind provided in this article, can go a long way toward creating a common understanding of the imbalances between the supply and demand for workers.

 

Trucking HR Canada is committed to monitoring and providing access to these important indicators as we support the development of evidence-based solutions to our industry’s challenges.

 

I invite you to use the resources on our site to help manage the pressure you may be feeling as you look for drivers. If you have questions, please reach out to [email protected] to learn more.

 

 

Coaching through COVID-19

By: Angela Splinter

In trucking, a successful game plan for recruiting and retention includes coaching. A great coach can get the best performance out of an individual or team by providing just the right mix of guidance, instruction, and support.

Many of our Top Fleet Employers have seen the benefits of coaching programs first-hand, including higher employee retention, better workplace morale, and positive impacts on safety.

With COVID-19 presenting new challenges and changes to our workplaces, a coach or mentor can focus on ways to connect with employees who may be feeling isolated or unmotivated.

With leaner budgets, and in some cases leaner teams, having a coach can be a cost-effective way to improve morale, increase productivity, and support overall employee well-being.

Let’s take a look:

Adapting your approach

Traditionally designed to help achieve organizational goals, we’re seeing a shift in coaching to focus on the employee and their overall performance and success.

Being a coach or mentor is different from being a manager who assigns tasks and monitors the work. Coaching is simply the act of listening, asking questions, and providing feedback so employees can be their personal best. Although coaches can be external to the organization, you can look to current staff to act as coaches as well.

Coaching tends to focus on performance and short-term skills, but a coach can also be an invaluable guide for employees who are dealing with changes that may be out of their control.

Support on-boarding

Coaching is often part of an effective on-boarding process. Experienced employees, for example, can spend time with new hires and personally answer questions about company practices, safety procedures, and more.

Virtual work arrangements mean more challenges for new hires. On-boarding procedures haven’t changed much, but the experience certainly has.

First impressions matter. How you welcome new employees and bring them into your company has an enormous impact on how engaged they are and how quickly they reach their full potential and productivity.

Incorporating coaches and mentors in the onboarding process will help.

Coaching your coaches

All roles are changing as the effects of the pandemic continue. Your managers and senior executives need to be equipped with the skills needed to perform at their best, too.

This may require providing professional development to your current managers to ensure they have the knowledge and comfort level with addressing these new challenges we are facing.

Investing in your employees is always a good thing to do. As we cope with COVID-19, it is becoming simply the right thing to do if we want our teams and teammates to perform their best.

 

 

Time for a temperature check on mental health

By: Angela Splinter

Trucking HR Canada recently conducted an informal “temperature check” survey of employers and employees about the topic of mental health in the workplace.

While the intent was to gather information over our social media channels for a federal consultation on the topic, what we heard from respondents was alarming.

Considering the pressure the pandemic has brought to bear, it was no surprise to hear that the number of workers concerned about their psychological health is rising. What’s astonishing is how pervasive COVID-19-related mental health issues are among the entire workforce, leaving a swath of stressed-out people – from the driver’s seat to the shop, to the office.

The survey results and the discussions we’ve had since have prompted us to take a close look at how stress, isolation, family matters, financial pressure, and other factors affect the mental health and safety of people in trucking and logistics.

COVID-19 looks like it’ll be with us for a while, and we want to help employers develop strategies to help their employees cope with life at work and home and feel better about themselves and their work.

Here’s what we’re learning.

There is a stigma around mental health

By far, survey respondents said COVID-19 is the main reason for observed decreases in their overall wellbeing and mental health in the workplace. Other factors cited (in order) are workplace stress; poor work-life balance; organizational restructuring; increased workload; and financial stress.

A large number of respondents acknowledged that employees are more aware of their general state of mental health and feel more comfortable discussing it at work. However, respondents also indicated that stigma surrounding mental health is something that many contend with, meaning that there may still be reluctance to report a mental health issue at work. One person said the stigma around mental health includes a fear of experiencing employment repercussions (e.g., losing their license).

This suggests that an effective intervention to reduce stigma in the trucking and logistics industry would also need to involve a dialogue among many different actors: employer organizations, employee organizations, health and safety bodies, insurance providers, and others.

Everyone is affected, but the more vulnerable are affected most.

In trying to determine which individuals within the workforce faced the greatest degree of COVID-19-related psychological distress, we found that occupational categories were the most frequently cited factor. Nevertheless, it was shown that certain issues can come into play to make individual circumstances particularly important to understanding the full picture.

For example, respondents who cited these factors tend to be affected the most:

  • Those with pre-existing mental health concerns
  • Those working from home with young children
  • Those working in close quarters

It’s also important to consider the experiences of different demographic groups. Notably, the mental health of women in the industry was highlighted as a concern, particularly the manner in which female employees were treated by clients and—at times, by those they work with. Also highlighted as a concern was the mental health of younger men (under 30 years of age) within the industry.

For an industry looking to increase the participation of women and young people, these issues warrant further attention.

Help the helpers

Our survey results showed that employees in certain occupations have a higher risk or are more vulnerable to experiencing psychological injuries and illnesses.

Without a doubt, truck drivers demand special attention given their work conditions, with respondents citing familiar themes of isolation/solitude, unhealthy diets, and low physical activity. COVID-19-related factors included daily stress stemming from poor access to facilities such as washrooms, or access to good options for nutrition.

However, our survey highlighted other occupations of concern, notably (in order):

  • Dispatchers
  • HR staff
  • Office administration staff

It’s significant that the reported rate of mental health effects on HR staff was the closest to the prevalence rate of drivers. COVID-19 has exacerbated negative outcomes for dispatchers, who have had to bear the brunt of changes in routes and driver availability.

The fact that we look to HR managers, dispatchers, administrators, and others to support our drivers is important to remember as you develop plans to address mental health. The need to recognize and manage mental health across all occupations has perhaps been underestimated in the past.

As we brace for a longer recovery period from the pandemic, employers may want to consider a temperature check of their own workforces’ mental health.

Post-pandemic profitability will depend on it.