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.

 

 

Understanding Canada’s Truck Driver Shortage

By: Angela Splinter

 

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.

 

 

Major revisions coming to Canada’s National Occupational Classification

By: Angela Splinter

Canada is overhauling the National Occupational Classification (NOC) — the national reference on occupations in Canada.

The NOC provides a systematic classification structure that categorizes the entire range of occupational activity in Canada for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating occupational data.  Every 10 years, the government conducts a major review of the NOC for the purposes of labour supply and demand analysis, skills development, occupational forecasting, and other programs and services.

The next release, scheduled for early 2021, includes a new structural approach.  Let’s take a look:

New “TEER” approach

Reflecting changes in the economy and the nature of work, the NOC 2021 revision will overhaul the “skill level” structure by introducing a new categorization representing the degree of training, education, experience, and responsibilities (TEER) required for an occupation.

The new TEER categorization considers the type of education, training, and experience required for entry, as well as the complexities and responsibilities typical of an occupation. This new structure has a scale of 0 to 5:

 

  • TEER 0 is defined as high-level management.
  • TEER 1 occupations usually require a university education or previous experience and expertise in subject matter knowledge from a related occupation found within TEER 2.
  • TEER 2 usually requires post-secondary education, apprenticeship, or occupations with supervisory or significant safety responsibilities.
  • TEER 3 occupations require less than two years of post-secondary education or on-the-job instruction.
  • TEERs 4 and 5 usually require a high-school diploma or no formal education.

 

Better representation

The federal government says the TEER system better reflects the way people develop their skills and knowledge.

The revisions introduce changes that will make the new classification system more representative, useful, and achieve a more balanced representation of occupation groupings within a given classification. It will also address many existing concerns about how skill levels are categorized under the existing system.

 

Milestone dates

With a new NOC on the way, here are some key dates to consider:

  • December 2020: Publication of the spreadsheet with the revised NOC codes.
  • Early 2021: Release of the full classification for the NOC code (including the leading statements, main duties, employment requirements, example titles, inclusions, exclusions, and additional information).
  • Spring 2022: Government programs and departments will implement the new NOC at their discretion. While Statistics Canada will implement in early 2021, Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is planning on Spring 2022 implementation, which will impact the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

 

At this point, we don’t know of any specific changes to NOC 7511, how truck drivers will be classified in the TEER system, or if the new classification will result in changes to affected programs.

Stay tuned. Trucking HR Canada, the Canadian Trucking Alliance, and your provincial trucking association will have updates as they become available.

A Word From Worldskills

November 4, 2020 | By Guest Blogger: World Skills Employment Centre

HOW WORLD SKILLS CAN HELP YOUR FLEET

Before the Covid-19 pandemic started, the trucking industry was already experiencing severe shortages of talent for their trucking positions and as much as 61% of trucking industry employers admitted to having trouble filling these types of positions in a span of the last 12 months.   Increasing the consideration of newcomers to Canada for these positions can help employers alleviate the vacancies for these roles. In the province of Ontario alone, newcomers/immigrants make up to almost 23% of the population and over 340,000 immigrants are expected to immigrate to Canada in 2020 alone.

Many employers such as the Federal Government, the City of Ottawa, TD Canada, RBC, COSTCO, Accenture, Business Development Canada etc. are tapping into this talent pool — adding global perspectives and experience to their workforce. Best of all, they find incredibly talented individuals who have an excellent understanding of the Canadian workplace and who are loyal to their employer. We have the largest pool of pre-screened newcomer talent in Ottawa who want to pursue truck driving as their career.  There are programs available to employers (conditions apply) that could help alleviate some of the costs associated with getting a new employee licensed and support for onboarding costs.

 

Looking for a solution?

 

World Skills, a non profit employment centre in Ottawa, has been a leader in enhancing newcomers’ economic integration into the Canadian economy for over 20 years. The centre helps immigrants incorporate into the workforce through employability assessments, employment competency building, job search training and support, cultural competency building, and language training.

To find out how to access these initiatives contact Theodros Haile

[email protected]

 

Career Pathway

Post COVID, Trucking Still Needs to Consider the Driver Shortage

Post COVID, Trucking Still Needs to Consider the Driver Shortage

By Angela Splinter

Before COVID-19 hit, the Canadian trucking and logistics sector was already experiencing an acute driver shortage.

It was literally the day before the World Health Organization designated coronavirus a global pandemic that Trucking HR Canada released The Road Ahead: Addressing the trucking and logistics industry labour shortages.

Our report sounds the alarm on many fronts: high driver job vacancies within the industry, low unemployment generally, and the need to reach young people and women in order to expand and diversify the driver pool. And government has to do a better job partnering with industry and investing in training and access to wage subsidies programs for young people.

Just when we thought our research was done, the effects of COVID-19 on employment meant we had more work to do.

In May of this year we did just that.

We again surveyed industry employers directly to get primary data on the labour market impacts of coronavirus and applied additional economic modeling.

This is important information. The economy is preparing to rebound, and the government says it will look to provide tailored solutions for employers.

Timely, accurate, and credible labour market intelligence is the key to reassessing the industry’s needs and finalizing recommendations for moving forward.

Let’s take a look at where we stand:

Employment Forecasts

For the first two quarters of 2020, employment in the trucking and logistics industry is expected to shrink by 10.4% for a loss of up to 72,000 jobs.

Long-haul and regional truck drivers are especially hard hit. All told, the number of drivers is expected to contract by 10.9%, which equates to 34,700 jobs or roughly one in two pandemic-related job losses in the industry.

The increasing shift toward online shopping means that delivery and courier drivers are expected to experience a slightly below-average decline in employment with an anticipated 7,500 job losses, mostly in retail and wholesale trade.

Cost of COVID-19

Employment in trucking and logistics is tied to economic activity.  And, the trucking industry expected to lose $3.2 billion in revenue this year. The latest forecast of truck driver employment is 296,600 in 2020, roughly 21,000 below our pre-COVID estimate of 317,600 for 2020.

The labour shortages the trucking and logistics sector was experiencing pre-COVID-19 should moderate in the near-term, however, as demand recovers, vacancies within the sector will return as early as 2022, especially among truck drivers.

Projections

While drivers remain in a slightly different position from the rest of the industry, the projections indicate that trucking and logistics employment will stabilize by the first quarter of 2022 while remaining at approximately 1% below pre-COVID-19 levels through 2023.

The truck driver occupation is projected to experience a relatively fast recovery. Demand for drivers is expected to stabilize by the fourth quarter of 2021 and attain or possibly exceed pre-pandemic labour market projections by 2023.

However, anticipated retirements and other labour losses by 2023 indicate that this demand is unlikely to be fully met over the next three years. This important and timely research has confirmed that COVID-19 has simply stalled the driver shortage and has not negated it.

The question is whether we’ll have the perennial driver recruitment and retention challenges, including an aging demographic and need to reach women and younger employees, over the next three years.

Essentially, we could be right back where we started. At a time when many fleets are working to get back to their business of supporting the flow of goods through Canada’s supply chain, those tailored solutions our government keeps talking about cannot come fast enough.

Transportation Guide