Employment in the trucking industry is at a crossroads right now.
As drivers age out of the profession, many carriers are looking to attract younger drivers, while at the same time retaining the ones they currently have. One way to do this is through social media.
According to CarriersEdge, about 75% of drivers are on social media and their platform of preference is Facebook.
“What we found this year – when we looked at asking drivers how many people were on social media – out of those thousands of drivers surveyed about 75% are on social media. We didn’t ask them what social media, but they were telling us, ‘Yes, I’m on social media. I’m on Facebook,’” said Jane Jazrawy, CEO of CarriersEdge, which uses the company’s Best Fleets to Drive For program to survey about 6,000 drivers annually on a multitude of subjects, one of which was the use of social media.
The reason drivers chose Facebook was because of its ability to allow for and encourage discussion between members.
“A lot of drivers have a lot of followers because if they’re providing good information – a lot of people are coming to see them. So, I see a lot of that where drivers have a huge amount of followers and sometimes companies will actually tie into that,” said Jazrawy.
Using the example of a Top 20 company, Jazrawy said the company’s recruitment officer was featured as a guest on a popular driver’s Youtube channel. This helped in recruitment and publicized the company.
“It’s a good communication tool when people are geographically dispersed.”
Statistics Canada reports that British Columbia has the highest unemployment rate of any province when it comes to trucking in Canada.
According to data, B.C. had a 17% vacancy in the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to vacancies in Alberta and Manitoba at 6.5%, and Saskatchewan at 3.8%. The second highest vacancy rate was Quebec at 6.8%.
When it came to economic growth, B.C.’s trucking sector has outpaced all other industries since 2011. In 2018, according to Truck News, trucking in B.C. saw 3% growth when compared to 2.5% average for all other industries.
In 2017, there was more than 7% growth compared to other industries that hit 4%.
“We’ve done this program (Best Fleets to Drive For) for 12 years and what we have found over the years is that…in the last six years, is that social media on the parts of the carriers has become more important to them in their recruiting and Facebook is where it really started,” said Jazrawy.
Some of the ways companies can attract drivers to their Facebook pages or other social media platforms for recruiting is to have videos showing the work atmosphere of a company.
“The more you can show what it’s like to work at your location the more that people will be attracted to it. And you also have the added benefit of if people don’t like it they’re not going to be trying to get a job there and quitting after two weeks…the whole turnover thing you can mitigate that if you show what your culture is like,” said Jazrawy.
Five years ago, about 99% of the pages created on Facebook by carriers were recruiting pages. Through Jazrawy’s research with drivers, she found that drivers engaged in discussions on topics such as employment, which carriers to work for or avoid, driving tips, equipment knowledge, and other topics relevant to their work.
Facebook and videos also promote company pride internally as they make people feel good about working for an organization. Jazrawy also noted the polling features of Facebook is another tool companies can use to gauge employee satisfaction, ideas to improve the company, and other matters.
“You can throw out questions on social media and see what the answers are. If you don’t want to do it publically, you can do it in a private group,” she said.
The appeal of Facebook is not only that it offers drivers a connection with their peers and companies, but a connection to home as well.
Although there are proven examples of the benefits of social media, Jazrawy cautions companies and people using social media platforms.
“One of the comments that we had from the driver survey was that social media was the plague, which is very true it can be. Facebook is right now in the media for privacy issues – what are they doing with everyone’s information, what are they doing that may not be up front? …You have to be mindful of what you ask people to do on social media – not asking them for personal information or not asking them to share things – anything you ask them should be a business request.”