Mass resignations have become one of the biggest struggles for companies in 2021. This is expected to be at the forefront of challenges for 2022. Employees are voluntarily resigning from their jobs and seeking other opportunities with different priorities in mind. Known as the Great Resignation, and the Big Quit, this economic trend is impacting all industries.
As of November 2021, 4.5 million Americans had quit their jobs. According to the Labor Department, many of those resignations are happening in the restaurant industry, trucking, and healthcare.
People either lost their job during the pandemic in 2020, or they were able to keep their job and pushed through the hump, but are now looking to move on and explore other options. Employees are rethinking their career paths and shifting priorities.
The Great Resignation is here
Microsoft reported that 41% of the global workforce were considering leaving their current employer over the next year.
Monster.com reported that 95% of workers who responded to their survey in 2021 are thinking about changing jobs.
This is a time when workers are asking themselves, Where do I want to work? Is it time I move to another position? Is this my chance to jump to another part of the supply chain business?
“People are looking at opportunities more holistically than before,” explains KJ McMasters, founder and president of Talent Solvers.
Instead of looking for just an incremental pay raise, workers are looking at how a job can put them on the right path in their career, or provide more of a work-life balance.
A Shortage of Logistics Workers
The demand for supplies has increased with COVID, but the logistics industry is struggling. From staffing issues being among the top causes of the congestion and delays at the nation’s largest ports in California, to the shortage of truck drivers, the supply chain industry is experiencing the effects of the great resignation.
The trucking industry is short of about 80,000 employees because of this labor trend.
The Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry report by the American Transportation Research Institute shows how the driver shortage is a recurring issue that was affecting the industry even before the pandemic. For the fourth consecutive year, in 2020 the driver shortage was noted as the trucking industry’s top concern.
In 2018 fleets faced a tremendous driver shortage, and early signs show that 2022 could be the same story all over again. Since 2018, drivers have been leaving the industry, particularly for two top reasons: the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, and older drivers retiring or leaving the industry over COVID-related concerns.
Across the board, the pandemic pushed people to retire early, and the supply chain industry is no exception. Veteran truckers make up a fourth of the total truck drivers.
According to surveys by the American Truck Association, 57% of all commercial truck drivers are over the age of 45, and 23% are over 55 and 8% are working above retirement age. That means that 1 in every 4 truck drivers is over the age of 55. If those drivers decide to pack up and go, the impact is tremendous for the supply logistics industry.
“The available workforce is taxed,” said Tom Balzer, president and CEO of the Ohio Trucking Association, during an interview with Cleveland.com. “You’ve got this almost perfect storm, where you have increased demand and not enough people who are interested in getting into truck driving.”
Trying to Attract New Talent
Considering that driver compensation was second on the list of Top 10 Trucking Industry Issues, one would think that higher pay would retain truck drivers and attract others. However, it is not solving the issue. Companies are implementing hikes in salary for truckers, but they are still keeping an eye on what else is out there.
The ideal scenario would be to target and recruit younger truck drivers to help fill the gap, but the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules prevent anyone under the age of 21 to drive a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.
The challenge for organizations remains in successfully attracting talent in such a competitive environment, and retaining the talent that is still working in their organizations to avoid losing them.
Finding Other Solutions
People are looking for jobs through various candidates now, and find themselves choosing between various offers. Companies hiring need to have a tight process and move quickly making decisions to secure the talent they want for their company sooner, rather than later.
The days of just posting jobs and hoping the right talent shows up are over. Organizations need to implement strategies to attract employees.
Implementing brand presence and using recruiters who are sales executives is an essential strategy to hire quality talent. “You gotta fight every day,” says McMasters. “You have to hunt to find people. You have to evoke curiosity in the candidate.”
To attract more talent, some companies have resorted to having a more corporate social responsibility narrative. Whether supporting a national charity, or offering more opportunities for employees to support their community, organizations are having to take culture to the next level.
Retention is also key during the great resignation. “It’s not happening enough,” says McMasters talking about the need to recognize current employees.
While efforts are allocated and focused on filling up the gaps, it is imperative to retain those who are staying, and who oftentimes are having to fulfill extra tasks to help the work get done, or facing new challenges at the job. Current employees need to feel appreciated, see a clear career path, and understand where and how they fit in the organization.
Younger talent is looking to grow, and an organization that invests time and resources in its professional development will be more attractive than one that just provides minimum training. Continued development is an influential factor for current and prospective employees.
The industry will continue to see staff shortages, particularly for truck drivers. The hope is that in partnership with lawmakers and municipalities to improve driving conditions, the shortage can be reversed to avoid a downfall for the essential industry.