The Millennials are Here: How Do They View the Freight Industry?

By: Lance Healy

In our last post, we touched on the entrance of millennials into the workplace. We went over how this specifically affects working environments in many industries, with a focus on the freight industry. However, while the millennial generation is still largely entering the working world, there are a good number of millennials who are already beginning careers and even taking management positions.

This is evident in a variety of industries that capture the imagination and communal voice of millennial employees. One of these industries is logistics and freight management. There are a few reasons for this: for one, the transportation industry is continually developing new technology that makes businesses run better, a key point to attract millennials; also, the transportation industry has a lot a room for growth, a plus for any generation entering the workplace.

In part two of our three-part series, we examine the perspective of real millennials in the freight industry and any misconceptions millennials may have. Understanding the millennial point of view is important for companies who rely on the best employees to take their business to the next level.

Personal Perspective

For myself, a millennial, being able to work in the freight industry offers a unique perspective on how millennials are viewed in the workplace, especially in the freight industry. Growing up, working in this industry never crossed my mind. This is neither a negative nor a positive for the freight industry. It is more a side effect of the current business climate than anything else. Millennials grew up on “cool” brands making lasting marks on the world around them. Companies like Google and Apple are seen as the pinnacle of workplace destinations and logistics companies tend to fall by the wayside in comparison.

Shipping companies and departments are starting to catch on though. There are now myriad results on Google for tips and tactics to recruit millennials to any industry imaginable. Some of these help not only the hiring process but also the way businesses operate.

One these tips and tactics that I see changing the industry, and what drew me to Banyan Technology, is the adoption of technological advancements. Now, more than ever, there is an emphasis on utilizing the latest technology to streamline and optimize how a business moves freight. This may seem unrelated to attracting millennials, but it is anything but. You have to remember, especially when bringing millennials on board, is that this is the generation that grew up with technology. Useful technology that stumps millennials, hasn’t been invented yet (outdated equipment like fax machines notwithstanding). The companies that are more willing to develop new technology will attract better, younger talent than their competitors.

 

From personal experience, the technological advancements in Banyan’s group of solutions was a major draw for a recent college graduate. Why wouldn’t I want to work at a company that is on the forefront of introducing cutting-edge technology to the freight industry? Compare that to a company stuck in the proverbial Stone Age, and you’ll see that it was an easy choice.

Misconceptions of the Freight Industry

Since millennials are now entering the workplace at a regular clip, it is important to know what they are thinking about when viewing transportation and logistics job postings. While some organizations are loading up on millennial talent, it is fair to assume that other companies aren’t having the best luck recruiting the next generation of workers that will keep your business running for years to come. The main reason for the lack of interest on the part of millennials is that there are plenty of misconceptions surrounding the freight industry.

One of the reasons as to why there are so many misconceptions around the freight industry (and I can personally back this) is because there is a large gap in information concerning the freight and transportation industry. Millennials looking for job opportunities are stumped when it comes to this industry because they don’t know anything about it. When I first started in this industry, there was a steep learning curve that had to do with terminology, best practices, and industry mindset. Dana Stiffler, research vice president at Gartner spoke in their corporate blog about recruiting millennials into supply chain. “Today’s generation of students represents a real opportunity for a labor-strapped profession…but they know relatively little about the opportunities within it,” says Ms. Stiffler. This lack of knowledge, unfortunately, only leads to the proliferation of more misconceptions about the industry.

A major misconception that Ms. Stiffler sees as hampering the development of the freight and transportation industry is that millennials don’t view the industry as innovative. This goes beyond the technology used by companies and, instead, is more in reference to how the industry is driving the world forward. Already mentioned was that millennials are drawn to companies that have a “cool” brand perception. In the freight industry, companies are developing large resources to the advancement of robotics, autonomous vehicles, and augmented reality. If millennials were made aware of these world-changing developments, the perception of the industry would immediately change for the better.

Something that was touched on in Part One of this series was that millennials are more aware of the social impact of their work than previous generations. This affects where millennials are applying for jobs; if your industry isn’t viewed as socially conscious, you can expect to see millennial job applications dry up. The freight industry has to do a better job of pushing away the misconception that moving shipments from Point A to B is all there is to the entire industry. Already, you will see companies adopting this mentality. More and more companies are setting up programs that entail giving back to their communities; from trucking companies to third-party logistics companies to Banyan Technology, organizations are steadily realizing that being socially conscious pays off in more ways than one.

With the steady expelling of these misconceptions, the freight industry is inching closer and closer to being fully prepared to welcome the millennial workforce.

Conclusion

While this post was the second in a series on millennials in the workforce, it was the first that offered the unique perspective of a millennial. Being that millennial, it is good to write about positive changes in the industry that show logistics and transportation companies are welcoming millennials with open arms. Very soon, millennials will hold most management-level positions. Make sure your business is prepared for that upper-level hand-off by recruiting millennials early and often.

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