Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand

 
Diversity the feature of industry awards

Diversity the feature of industry awards

Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand

 November 2019    RTF News

The average age of truck drivers in New Zealand is 54, which means that over the next 10-15 years we can expect a significant proportion of our workforce to retire.

This alone presents one of our industry's biggest risks and is something that the RTF, its associations and many operators are grappling with.

The answer is to employ more young people to fill the gaps. The 22–39-year age group, known to most of us as The Millennials, will be 75% of NZ's workforce in a decade.

By necessity, they will have to be a big part of the road transport industry. However, we're struggling to attract them, especially millennial women. As generational recruitment and leadership expert Melanie Boyle told the RTF Conference, the reality is that "we must change and adjust."

As she explained, millennials are different: "They are the least engaged part of our workforce and recruiting them costs money and takes time.

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The average age of truck drivers in New Zealand is 54, which means that over the next 10-15 years we can expect a significant proportion of our workforce to retire.
This alone presents one of our industry's biggest risks and is something that the RTF, its associations and many operators are grappling with.
The answer is to employ more young people to fill the gaps. The 22–39-year age group, known to most of us as The Millennials, will be 75% of NZ's workforce in a decade.
By necessity, they will have to be a big part of the road transport industry. However, we're struggling to attract them, especially millennial women. As generational recruitment and leadership expert Melanie Boyle told the RTF Conference, the reality is that "we must change and adjust."
As she explained, millennials are different: "They are the least engaged part of our workforce and recruiting them costs money and takes time.
"They want to know they are valued, what their purpose is, and why their job is important. They do not want to feel stifled through a lack of professional development."
Boyle dispelled the myth that young millennial women leave jobs to have children: "The reality is they leave because they aren't being paid enough, they don't get enough development, career progression and meaningful work.
"Equality and diversity are their big things. Before they apply to work for you they are going to Google you, they are going to walk all over your website and your social media and they want to see evidence that you really believe in equality and diversity and you see the benefits of having women in your workforce. And if they don't see it then they are unlikely to apply."
The interesting thing is, this also applies to male millennials, according to Boyle: "This is what they have been brought up to understand – equality and diversity. You have to think seriously about how you are being perceived by the people that you want to get in."
So, how do we get it right? Said Boyle: "Communicate and be clear and drive recruitment with the purpose of including learning, development and career progression opportunities.
"Flexibility is expected and while it can be a hard challenge for road transport, they (millennials) are not willing to sacrifice a good personal life for work. They are not driven by pay, but they are not going to work for peanuts either. If you are paying them badly, they will leave.
"If you can get this stuff right, you are going to retain them and they will be loyal to you."
Melanie Boyle also touched on the importance of leadership style being instrumental in attracting younger workers. A change from a "command and control" type of leadership to a more collaborative style is what is required.
"Millennials don't want a manager or a boss, they want a coach. They want someone who is invested in their growth and development and is helping them be the best they can.
"They want to collaborate and contribute. They want to make you successful by you allowing them to help you. They want meaning in their work and to know that they are doing something that is bigger than them.
"This is a big cultural shift and is the evolution of leadership for the younger generation.
"This is not about pandering to the young – but remember, they will dominate the workforce and we must learn how to shift and adjust."
Her final message was about the importance of a good culture: "Culture determines brand. So, what is your brand? How do you want to be perceived by people looking for a job?
"What do you want them to experience when they go Googling or look through social media? And if you do say you're this, make sure that is the reality."
Says the RTF's Nick Leggett: "So, while we can complain about the changing demands of a younger generation of workers and that they don't hold the same attitude to work, the reality is that they will dominate the workforce and it is up to us to adjust to this.
"When it comes to careers, millennials have an unprecedented range of choices, so to remain competitive in the modern labour market, we need to take on board the advice of experts like Melanie."


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