GETTING GEN Z BEHIND THE WHEEL
There are a few issues out there that seem to constantly haunt trucking executives. Driver recruitment and retention is a big one, but an offshoot of that is truckers’ age. New entrants start out at 38, on average. The mean age of an experienced driver is 54. With statistics like these, aging out and wearing out becomes the norm.
But there’s a new opportunity in the form of recruiting younger entrants. The Gen Z age cohort (people born between 1997 and 2012) is a largely untapped pool for trucking companies.
There’s a few reasons for that. Carriers face insurance complications from having younger drivers on the payroll. Truckers under 21 are barred from crossing state lines. It can dissuade recruiters from even thinking about looking at high schools. But the culture around hiring young truckers is starting to shift.
The Next Generation in Trucking Association, a new nonprofit, is working to get more simulators into high schools, and promote companies and programs that nurture younger entrants intrastate until they can thrive beyond state lines. Then there’s the Drive-Safe Act, which would lower the age of entry for new drivers. More and more, trucking advocates, CDL schools, and even lawmakers are considering tapping younger recruits to remedy the driver shortage.
There may not be many young truckers on the road now, but we expect that to change. And it will be key to improving the driver supply for years to come.