The current need for drivers of trucks and other heavy vehicles is at an all-time high, making it hard to attract the best. Given the average age of Australian truck drivers is around 47, many will soon retire. At the same time, road freight quantities are expected to double over the next decade.
The difficulty in recruiting and keeping skilled drivers, including long-haul ones, appears at odds with the attractions of the lifestyle: independence, the appeal of the open road, love of trucks and, to a decreasing degree, the money. Also, prolonged absences from family, demanding deadlines and, in some cases, health issues, are seeing many good drivers look elsewhere or not commit to long-haul assignments.
Whether you're seeking owner-operators or company fleet drivers, there are several ways to find and attract them. Obvious ways include word of mouth from your present drivers, supported by a strong website presence, including a strongly promoted 'employment and contractor opportunities' section, placed prominently on the navigation menu. A feature panel highlighting its presence will help drive a number of job and contract seekers to this section.
Taking the top spot on Google Search through search engine optimisation (SEO) can increase visibility of your business and hiring success. By optimising your website, you are increasing your websites ranking capabilities on Google Search. This ranking system is based upon how user friendly your website is, so making simple steps to improve your websites relevance i.e. improving page loading time, page layout, advert placement, introducing out bound links and reviewing older content for updates, will provide to be favourable for your website on Google Search.
When it comes to advertising online, your ads can also be influenced by SEO. For instance, by using the correct keywords that are relevant to your advertisement can boost your ad. So, featuring the important attributes of your business and what you’re looking for in the advert header can make potential employees search easier to find your business.
It is also essential to make your company's presence strongly felt on websites specialising in job listings, trucking forums and associations. And getting back to traditional methods, be sure to consider tightly targeted print ads plus posters for truck stop bulletin boards; even people not directly interested may pass your message along to someone who is.
Other driver-seeking options include social media and sites showcasing drivers looking for jobs, eg, www.drivers.com.au/, www.truckersearch.com/home/ and www.truckdriverjobs411.com/ — just for starters. Googling 'truck drivers looking for jobs' will reveal a large number of candidates keen enough to take the positive step of actively searching.
When meeting candidates, you obviously need to be clear about what you expect, basing your criteria on a clear hiring policy with regard to meeting statutory requirements and ensuring thorough interviews and background checks to confirm candidate credentials. As further validation, consider initially hiring on a temporary basis so you can verify driving skills and workplace fit.
Today's trucking climate is a far cry from the old 'blue singlet' days. Monitoring techniques, performance indicators and reporting methods are extremely sophisticated, meaning more effective training and greater expertise are required.
Like a looming shadow behind this is the spectre of driverless vehicles: a technology that will affect not only the trucking and transport industries themselves but also the many roadside businesses that serve it, especially petrol station and cafe employees.
Extensive testing of semi-automated rigs is already well under way in Europe and our industry needs to lift its game and be at its very best to meet the coming challenges. And that can only be possible with the best drivers you can find.