How to Counter the Great Resignation in Transportation and Logistics

By Conrad Winter

The transportation and logistics industry is feeling the effects of the Great Resignation the same as every other industry, maybe even more so. After all, trucking was short 80,000 drivers before the pandemic even hit.

The Great Resignation has compounded the shortage for drivers as well as workers throughout the supply chain—at every link from port to pick line and every level of organizations. The same forces that led 4.3 million Americans to quit jobs in August 2021 and 4.4 million to give notice in September have led to “panic recruiting”—a term used by Seth Becker, vice president of recruiting operations at Randall-Reilly, one of the top driver recruitment advertisers in the country during a recent TMSA webinar.

Carriers are jacking up wages and giving big signing bonuses to lure drivers and warehouse workers. And in today’s labor market, transportation and logistics companies aren’t just competing against each other for hires. As it stands, there are 10.6 million job vacancies in the U.S. economy, according to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Trucking companies are competing against everyone from construction companies to ecommerce fulfillment providers for talent.

The other major challenge for employers is meeting new expectations of employees. Greater job satisfaction, work-life balance, advancement opportunities, higher wages and better benefits are driving the Great Resignation movement. Employers ignore these at their own peril. Proof is in the numbers: there are also currently 1.6 million members of Reddit’s r/antiwork thread (the unofficial social media headquarters of the Great Resignation.)

What’s your recruiting strategy for the Great Resignation?

If your job is hiring truck drivers, warehouse workers or managers for any facet of logistics, you don’t need the big numbers to remind you of what you’re seeing first-hand. Things have changed. Hiring and holding onto talent requires an employee-centric mindset and committed, hyper-competitive recruitment tactics. In today’s environment, companies need to learn to treat job candidates and employees more like customers and less like human resources.

Employee retention is as important as recruitment in today’s labor market.

Changes in the perception of work and the rise of the gig economy are opening possibilities for workers, causing them to reconsider, and often quit to go out on their own.

The large number of smaller carriers today is evidence of this. Truckers are redefining the rules by going into business for themselves. DOT data indicates that companies with fewer than 6 trucks make up 91.5% of America’s almost 1 million carriers.

The Great Resignation is leading truck drivers and all workers to look for better conditions and better pay. Companies need to dial up their strategies not just to recruit new employees, but to make sure they remain employees.

Increasing pay and benefits are at the top of the list, but so is flexibility. The desire for more time at home applies as much to drivers as those in sales, operations and administrative positions.

Additionally, answering the needs and desires of your people doesn’t end once they’re in the door. In this market, drivers and all employees can always be looking.

Keeping workers, drivers and employees happy and healthy addresses the heart of the unmet needs fueling the Great Resignation. It’s only one of many strategies that can help companies work through today’s recruitment and retention challenges and create an employee experience that leads to sustainable success.

Want to learn more about what’s trending in transportation today? Need more details about driver recruitment? Check out TMSA’s On-Demand webinars that take a deeper dive into these topics.

This blog post was written by Conrad Winter, TMSA Marketing Committee member.  Conrad is a freelance copywriter specializing in content and copy writing for transportation and logistics. Based in Metuchen, NJ, he creates website copy, campaigns, blog posts, whitepapers and case studies for carriers, 3PLs and industry associations. 

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