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.