Anyone responsible for hiring new drivers to carry out haulage work will have faced this problem many times: do you go for the fresh-faced, enthusiastic but inexperienced young driver or do you give a job to an experienced, older trucker?
It’s an interesting exercise to look at the pros and cons of hiring youngsters to join your fleet. This summarymay help you decide which people are the right fit for your team, and whether it is worth the potential risks of employing a younger person.
The Cons: Inexperience and Risk
There are several things to consider when contemplating hiring a ‘newbie’. Here are the top three:
1. Risk taking: It’s been proven that younger drivers are more likely to take significant risks whilst out on the roads. The adrenalin rush that comes from risk-taking is more significant in adolescents, which can lead to unpredictable (and potentially dangerous) behaviour.
2. Expense: Insurers know that younger truck drivers are at a higher risk of having bad driving habits. Consequently, they’llcharge more to insure them whether or not they have a good track record. This meansadditional costs before your new employee has even stepped into the cab.
3. Immaturity: Neuroscientists have discovered that immature brains struggle with decision-making and are less equipped to recognise (and stop) inappropriate behaviour. This means that young drivers may notunderstand how their actionscould affect others on the roads, leading to more collisions. (These problems seem to disappear around the age of 24.)
The Pros: Investment and Loyalty
Of course, it’s not all doom, gloom and ageism – far from it. Helping a young person take their first steps into a new career can be very rewarding and make good business sense. Here’s why:
1. Loyalty: By offering a job to someone who may have been discriminated against by others due to their age, you’re offeringthem the opportunity to begin building their career. Giving them a chance at this stage can cement their loyalty to your company for many years to come. You will save money due to higher staff retention and potentially gaina valuable human resource.
2. Skills gap: There’s a growing skills shortage in logistics thatis only going to get worse if fleet managers don’t invest in youthful employees. By giving these young people experience and training, fleet managers are providing the industry with skilled individuals who have the capacity to contribute to the logistics sector for decades to come.
3. Train them your way: Hiring novice employees also enables fleet managers to train staff in a way that fits with the company’s values. Sometimes, with more experienced truckers, tension arises ifthey’re used to doing things their own way. However, youngeremployees will have fewer preconceptions and will be more open to learning haulage work within a culture that promotes safe, low-risk driving.
It seems the sides are fairly well balanced: on the one hand you have potentially higher risks, yet on the other you have a dedicated employee for the future.It’s up to the individual manager to decide whether their company is more suited to experienced old hands or enthusiastic new recruits. In many cases it’s been proven that a mixed bag is best to ensure high-quality haulage work whilst still committing to aninvestment in the future of the industry.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage work with available drivers. Over 5,000 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships.