THINK TANK 8: Can Millennials Save the Trucking Industry? The Technology & Culture of Tomorrow's Trucking Jobs
They say that truckers drive the American economy. When will millennials, armed with powerful emerging technologies, finally take the wheel?
JOIN US for our next thought-provoking, take-action think tank as we tackle the trucking industry's biggest problem today: luring & keeping millennial & women truck drivers for the long-haul (pun intended). The driver shortage problem as been looming & steadily growing for several years now but it is becoming a critical issue for the trucking industry (Driver Shortage Back On Top As Trucking Industry's Top Concern).
We'll explore how trucking companies are using emerging technologies to draw millennials & how millennials can reinvent the trucking industry culture into something that reflects their generation's priorities & values instead of the past (Smokey & the Bandit' Charm Fades as Truck Driver Hiring Lags). And we'll review of how emerging technologies like driverless trucks, social media, VR/AR, AI, etc., is playing a HUGE role in how this all pans out.
If you attended our driverless truck event last year (Driverless Trucks Will Come Before Driverless Cars) then you know how strongly our guest speaker, Seth Clevenger, emphasized that, even though autonomous trucks will replace some functionalities of human truck driving, self driving trucks will still need human drivers.
Our special guest speaker for this think tank, Allie Knight (a self-professed Weird Chick from Boston (by way of Texas & late of Missoula, Montana)), is a rare truck driver, indeed. She is a female, millennial (33 years old), long-haul truck driver who got her CDL (commercial driver's license) in January of 2014. She trained & drove for USA Trucks for about a year & then hauled flatbeds for Legacy Transportation. During this time she achieved YouTube stardom (with a growing audience of 70,000+ subscribers bringing in half a million views monthly) by sharing her unique experiences driving trucks, learning the road, & being a millennial trucker determined to make trucking more appealing & safe for her generation & women. By the way, the demographic of Allie's audience on YouTube is 94% men, aged 24 to 55!
Allie will be giving us a rare, insightful peak inside the trucking industry from the perspective of a millennial, female truck driver.
The Big Problem
Contrary to what you may have heard about the coming jobless apocalypse of over 4 million truck drivers due to the adoption of autonomous technology (driverless trucks) in the next decade (Will Automation Put an End to the American Trucker?), the truth of the matter (which isn't being reported nearly as much) is potentially just as detrimental to our economy.
Similar to other industries, a big cultural & generational shift is happening in trucking. With the average age of truck drivers in the US being 50 years old (and 95% male), a generation of truckers are preparing for retirement & taking with them knowledge & experience of being on the road that isn't being passed down to the next generation that should be taking the wheel: millennials
Not only are millennials avoiding the trucking industry like the plague (What The Truck? Why Are Millennials Passing Up High-Paying Trucking Jobs?), but the ones who hold trucking jobs are leaving the industry (Most millennial truckers looking to leave: report, ON, Canada). What this all means is, for the first time ever, the trucking industry is facing an epic job vacancy crisis that it is trying desperately to solve: The U.S. Is Running Out of Truckers (Bloomberg News).
Deadline 2025: the trucking industry was short about 48,000 drivers at the end of 2015. That shortage is expected to skyrocket to almost 175,000 by 2024. In order to meet the demand of consumers that are increasingly purchasing merchandise to be express delivered via Amazon, Walmart, & other ecommerce sites (among other things), the trucking industry must reverse the current trend & hire a total 890,000 new drivers, or an average of 89,000 per year over the next decade or the economy & businesses could be hit hard (The Truck Driver Shortage Analysis). The industry as a whole is now desperately seeking ways to draw millennials & women. The question is, how do they do this & can technology help?
6PM - 6:20PM: sign in, networking, light food & drinks served
6:20PM - 6:30PM: announcements, sponsor intro, speaker intro
6:30PM - 7:00PM: Allie's presentation
7:00PM - 7:45PM: group problem-solving exercises
7:45PM - 8PM: group presentations
8:00PM - 8:30PM: Allie feedback on think tank presentations, Q&A, then it's a wrap!