Trucking in Canada is a multi-billion dollar a year industry which employs hundreds of thousands of Canadians. It is undeniable that trucking is vital to our Canadian economy and touches the lives of every Canadian. However, the trucking industry continues to face challenges with regards to human resources. The industry continues to struggle at varying levels with worker retention, an aging workforce, and issues with the image of trucking as an attractive career option.
All current research indicates that labour shortages resulting from an aging workforce are particularly acute for the trucking sector. Our workforce has a lower percentage of young people, and the average age of a driver exceeds the national average for similar occupations.
Statistics Canada 2014 data indicates that millennials are now the largest cohort in the Canadian workforce.
- Millennials: 37%
- Generation X: 34%
- Baby Boomers: 31%
Yet, the trucking industry is still largely represented by the baby boomer generation. In fact, the 2011 Statistics Canada National Household Survey indicates that the average age of a truck driver is 47.1. The same survey also shows that the 25-34 years-old cohort represents less than 15% of truck drivers – a drop of 3% since 2006 (18% in 2006, 15% in 2011). While some fleets have put forward some ambitious initiatives to try and recruit more millennials, the outlook for the next 10 years remains grim. With retirements expected to increase, other occupations will also face shortages in the coming years. This situation needs to be addressed.
While the potential for career progression and growth is excellent, the industry suffers from an image bias. Based on our report, Today’s Youth, Tomorrow’ s Drivers, that surveyed just over 200 young people on their perceptions of the trucking industry, younger people tend to see the industry as dangerous, taking a toll on work-life balance, unhealthy and not environmentally friendly.
One of Trucking HR Canada’s initiatives to address this challenge is to work to implement a national youth employment strategy for the Canadian trucking industry.