The truck driver employment squeeze isn’t just hitting carriers in the cab, it’s also affecting what’s going on behind the garage door. For every ten technicians who retire, only two are walking through getting hired.
Current estimates project that over the next 15 years an astonishing half of all current diesel technicians nationwide will be retiring. To make matters worse, the need for truck technicians and diesel specialists is expected to swell by 9 percent between now and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
For many motor carriers, the diesel technician shortage has already hit home. As fleet managers try to stem the losses, there are several things they can do to help bolster their recruiting and retention efforts.
Take a Second Look
Sometimes our current policies feel like they just work, even when they don’t. It’s not always easy to say something might be broken when so many people have relied on it for so long.
Take a second look at your recruiting process and break it down for analysis. Remember that it’s not just about going out and finding technicians, it’s also about training, benefits, and management structures. Look at how each piece fits together and ask yourself if it presents a compelling picture for potential candidates to evaluate.
Most of all, doing this evaluation gives you the chance to look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are truly competitive in today’s market. These are integrated processes, so tweaks every now and then are not a bad thing.
Tap Local Tech Colleges
Local technical schools are fertile recruiting grounds, but your attention should go beyond the obligatory career fair. Perhaps you could become a part of the school’s advisory board. This would give you input into curriculum and vital access to students.
It’s important that students see trucking getting involved with their education. Demonstrate that someone is there who is willing to help and potentially offer a position once they’re out of school. They feel committed to the career they’ve chosen and you get access to a pipeline of potential recruits.
Some companies even sponsor classrooms at Universal Technical Institute campuses. Sponsoring a classroom puts the brand’s logo into the room. Photos, brochures and additional information provide crucial access to a wealth of potential.
Utilize Social Media
Let’s face it, the best way to reach younger people is through social media and advertising. An aging technician forced has fed the misconception that technicians aren’t computer savvy. Remember that you aren’t trying to recruit an aging technician force.
To get to where the potential recruits are – especially the millennials – you have to be taking advantage of the digital mediums they use on a daily basis. That being said, don’t play down to young technicians. Treating them like equal partners entices them to join.
Finally, keep your social media strategy simple and uncluttered. Be relevant and engaging, but don’t go overboard. It’s more important to have relevant content than to be involved in every social media network just for the sake of doing so.
Look Beyond Salary
While technician pay is an important thing, it is not the most important thing. Many might be inclined to immediately say that compensation is what matters most, but research has shown this not to be true. Money may get a potential technician through the door, but it’s how they are treated and how good the work conditions are that will keep them there.
Other studies have shown that the relationship an employee has with their first-level supervisor is a major key to keeping them around. Building a culture of trust and personal development within the organization often wins the day.
It’s also prudent to remember that benefits are about more than just health insurance. Small, underused benefits, like tool allowance or tuition assistance, offer a big bang for few bucks. Most of all, potential recruits need to know about these benefits. Communicate them clearly and effectively so that they can do what they are supposed to do.
Although the technician shortage isn’t getting as much attention as the truck driver shortage, it merits a focused approach. If you’re a fleet manager looking to increase your retention efforts, get creative and think outside the box. Show how this is a desirable job that people want to do for not.