It is an old saying, but it does still hold true – if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. However, we are told we are in the ‘age of entitlement’ and this is supposed to go hand in hand with an unwillingness to get stuck in and do a good job, on the part of the up-and-coming generation.
Walk around any transport business and what you will see will give the lie to the perception that young people are unwilling to work hard and lack the enthusiasm and motivation to tackle many jobs in the trucking industry.
There are lots of smart young people working in trucking. The problem is there aren’t enough of them to fill the gaps. The trucking industry continues to expand and need new personnel to handle the task.
There isn’t something wrong with the young people who should be coming into our industry, there’s something wrong with our industry, or, to be more precise, the perception of our industry on the part of others, this is particularly the case with exactly the type of young people we need to attract.
The fact of the matter is the trucking industry isn’t badly paid, even when you are starting off at the foot of the ladder. Working conditions aren’t that bad either. Most trucking operations have to run a pretty tight ship these days to take account of workplace health and safety (WHS) and chain of responsibility (CoR) rules, as well as the need to make it an attractive workplace to keep the existing staff.
It’s a good industry and pays well, but it struggles to attract the brightest and the most motivated. What could be the problem? Unfortunately, the answer is the same as it is when many questions are asked about trucking’s woes, it’s about the perception of the industry by those who are not part of it.
There are several causes of this misperception – some of them are historical and just about all of them are of our own doing. There are many in trucking that live in the past, hanker for the good old days. They are always complaining how they can’t do things they could in the past, that all this red tape and paperwork is ruining the industry.
Get over it! The trucking industry needs to be a modern, forward-thinking one to enable it to handle an ever-increasing freight task on ever-more congested roads and using crumbling infrastructure to get the job done.
We don’t need pessimism and a complaining attitude; we need a positive go-getter attitude to take on the challenges. This is the environment we need to work in, whether it be the regulatory one, the economic one or any other environment.
The one single attribute the trucking industry has always had and needs to keep a strong grip on is the ability to look for a solution and get the job done in a practical way. Trucking people have always come up with a solution that works for them and works for the customer.
A bit more of this positivism will be reflected in the perception people have when looking in from the outside. We need to tell our story and show how we have solved the riddle of moving stuff from A to B in the economy and world of 2017 and how we are using the latest smarts in an innovative way.
Once we pump a bit more positivism through the system and do a bit less whingeing about the good old days, we may find young people rediscover a dynamic fast-paced and technologically cutting-edge industry like trucking, and want to work in it.