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.

 

 

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.

Following 2020: here’s what trucking and logistics HR pros should expect next

By: Angela Splinter

As an unsettled 2020 comes to an end, let’s look at what 2021 will have in store for our trucking and logistics workplaces.

The modernization of Canada’s Labour Code

In what our own Policy Analyst Marisha Tardif has likened to a “legislative tsunami,” recent amendments to the Canada Labour Code include new labour standards, wage-fairness rules, and occupational health and safety requirements.

Many of these regulations took effect in September 2019 but several are yet to come. Notably, the amendments of Bill C-65 and the accompanying regulations which protect against harassment and violence in the workplace.

The Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations, published in June, make a long-awaited detail official: new anti-harassment and violence provisions will take effect on January 1, 2021.

The regulations will apply to all workplaces covered under Part II of the Canada Labour Code, including many trucking and logistics employers.

NOC updates

Canada is now conducting its 10-year review of the National Occupational Classification (NOC), the federal system for categorizing job types in the country, including truck driving.

The next release includes new job-skill classifications that address concerns about how the federal government incorporates formal and informal training, education, and work experience into the NOC.

In early 2021 we will see how truck drivers are classified in the new system, and how it will affect federal programs.

Training and wage subsidies

With the events of 2020 clearly demonstrating how important this industry is, Trucking HR Canada was able to access federal funds for training and wage subsidies for jobs in trucking and logistics.

Our Career ExpressWay program has successfully supported the training and onboarding of close to 100 young people across the country, in driving positions, logistics, IT support, administration, and more. It provides up to $10,000 for driver training and up to $15,000 in wage subsidy per employee.

Our hope is that we can expand our program in 2021 to better connect our industry to Canadians of all ages looking for meaningful work in a sector with loads of career opportunities.

Diversity and inclusion

No longer buzzwords, workplace diversity and inclusion will remain a focus of Trucking HR Canada as we help employers expand the pipeline of talent into our industry.

One key initiative is our 2021 Women with Drive Leadership Summit, planned for March 10th.  With an international flair, we look forward to learning from and virtually connecting with a global network of women who have stepped up in their respective countries in responding to the challenges of COVID-19.

Driver shortages

Whether you believe it or not, we are on track for more acute driver shortages.

That is why Trucking HR Canada is planning to bring together industry stakeholders to define the root causes of our recruitment and retention challenges, from compensation structures to the nature of long-haul trucking driving itself.

The shortage of qualified drivers is an enduring issue. But there are always new approaches and new ideas that can inform innovative and practical solutions.

Growing our Top Fleet Employers

Now in its eighth year, our Top Fleet Employers program has grown steadily.

Our Top Fleet Employers are leaders in promoting a positive image of trucking and logistics and offering great places to work. By sharing sound HR policies and practices, they set an important example as we reach out to young people, women, and other job seekers.

Each year trucking and logistics companies undergo a rigorous application process but only the best are recognized as Top Fleet Employers. Applications close January 28, and you can click here to learn more: https://truckinghr.com/top-fleet-employers/

 

COVID-19

Where things will go in 2021 is anyone’s guess, but we know for sure that trucking and logistics will be pivotal to ensuring all essential goods—from food to fuel, and even more importantly, vaccines—get to all Canadians.

Rest assured that Trucking HR Canada and all of our partners are here to support you in ensuring you have the skilled workforce you need to make that happen.

Cheers to 2021.

Recruiting and Retaining Diverse Communities: An Employer Roadmap

Sizing up the labour market—and what to do next

Sizing up the labour market—and what to do next

February 18, 2020 by Angela Splinter

Labour shortages in trucking and logistics are an ongoing concern. Employers and employees across the country feel increasing pressure from longer recruiting processes, reduced productivity, and the fact that our pool simply continues to shrink.

To quantify the problem, Trucking HR Canada (THRC) launched a Labour Market Information Project in the summer of 2018. More recently, we partnered with The Conference Board of Canada on a comprehensive survey to more accurately assess the industry’s labour needs.

This work is important for businesses in trucking and logistics. But it’s also clear that understanding the industry’s labour needs affects all Canadians.

In 2019, the trucking and logistics sector employed 3.6% of Canada’s workforce, or just over 650,000 workers. And, while 45% of these employees are truck drivers, we also employ close to 90,000 people in shipping and receiving, close to 88,000 delivery and courier service drivers, and just over 36,000 material handlers at warehouses and distribution centers.

The size of our impact

Transportation is one of 10 critical sectors on which Canada’s economy and national security depends, as identified by Public Safety Canada’s “National Cross Sector Forum 2018-2020 Action Plan for Critical Infrastructure.”

Trucking and logistics companies connect consumers, businesses, and international markets that are vital to our economy. According to the Conference Board of Canada, the sector carries an estimated $550 billion worth of goods purchased by Canadians and more than $300 billion worth of Canadian goods destined to export markets (this does not even include wheat and crude oil).

And we support the nine other critical infrastructure sectors: energy and utilities, information and communication technology, finance, health, food, water, safety, government, and manufacturing. These pillars of our economy depend on a healthy trucking and logistics industry.

The size of our workforce

In 2019, the trucking and logistics sector employed 3.6% of Canada’s workforce, or just over 650,000 workers. And, while 45% of these employees are truck drivers, we also employ close to 90,000 people in shipping and receiving, close to 88,000 delivery and courier service drivers, and just over 36,000 material handlers at warehouses and distribution centers.

And let’s not forget the many others who keep operations going: an estimated 40,000 managers, supervisors, and administrative staff, and 9,000 accounting personnel.

The size of our problem

According to Statistics Canada’s Job Vacancy and Wage Survey, the truck transportation industry experienced an average job vacancy rate of 6.8% in 2019. This is the second-highest vacancy rate among Canadian industries after crop production, and more than double the national average of 3.3%.

Put differently, we’re unable to fill roughly one out of 15 open positions, most of them truck drivers. In fact, the total number of truck driver vacancies in Canada has increased from an annual average of 8,600 in 2016 to 20,500 in the first three quarters of last year.

Against this backdrop, it may come as little surprise that 61% of employers who responded to our survey reported difficulties filling truck driver positions within the past year.

One reason is demographics. According to the 2016 Census, 32% of truck drivers in Canada are 55 years or older compared to 21% of the entire Canadian labour force. More than 6% of our drivers are 65 and older. It is difficult to compete for younger workers.

Call to action

Our industry’s shortage of workers—and drivers in particular—affects individual businesses, Canada’s transportation infrastructure, and the overall economy.

We need to work quickly on solutions. As a first step, on March 11, we’re making sure everyone is aware of the severity of the situation.

We’re now finalizing our briefing report in partnership with the Conference Board of Canada and will release the results of our Labour Market Information Project at a press conference in Toronto on March 11 at Noon EST.

If you cannot make it to Toronto, please register to watch the event live via our web cast. We also encourage you to reach out to your provincial trucking association. Many will be joining via webcast in their offices.

Immediately following the press conference, we will hold a Workforce Knowledge Exchange—a discussion that will focus on identifying specific actions now that we have comprehensive data about our labour market.

Space is still available. Feel free to reach out to [email protected] to learn more.

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