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How to Build a Diverse Driver Workforce

truck driver retention

Lytx recently sponsored a webinar with FleetOwner titled “Engage, Recruit & Retain a Multi-Generational, Highly-Diverse Driver Workforce.” The truck driver shortage has made attracting and keeping drivers a top priority for trucking companies, pushing fleets to get more creative and tap underrepresented candidate pools. Discussing this hot topic were three expert guests:

  • Michele Waslin, Ph.D., Project Coordinator, Institute for Immigration Research, George Mason University
  • Cody Bolick, Director of Recruiting & Retention, Cargo Transporters
  • Ellen Voie, Founder and CEO, Women in Trucking Association


Below are the top takeaways based on what was shared in the webinar.


1. Formal programs to recruit and train drivers really work. (Cargo Transporters Case Study)

Cargo Transporters presents an ideal example of how fleets should expand their recruiting efforts to reach more drivers. The company uses advertising, job boards, driver referrals, and social media—targeted Facebook ads have been particularly successful.

Bolick shared some of Cargo Transporters’ key driver acquisition statistics:

  • 52 to 1: Overall lead-to-hire ratio
  • 8 to 1: IntelliApp DOT applications-to-hire ratio
  • ~15%: Hires that were referrals in last fiscal year (goal of 30% by end of this fiscal year)
  • ~39%: Hires that were trainee drivers
  • 85%: Orientation completion percentage
  • 92%: Hire rate

Cargo Transporters achieved those positive results using targeted recruitment strategies. For example, when the company successfully attracts a potential hire, the application process is seamless. Cargo Transporters designed custom, mobile-optimized landing pages where drivers can submit a short-form application or link to the full DOT application that integrates into the applicant tracking system.

Cargo Transporters’ recruiters play an important role, too. They serve as driver advocates, sales people, and company ambassadors. The company has made it their job to embody and extend the company culture to candidates.

Once drivers are hired, Cargo Transporters has created an effective onboarding process. Drivers can attend self-paced, online onboarding classes in two different locations. Training lasts around two days and a coordinator is always present for support. As part of orientation, new hires have direct contact with fleet leaders and driver managers.

Trainee hires participate in an eight-week apprentice finishing program focused on facilitating a safe path into the industry. This program is led by about 30 highly vetted trainers.


2. Investments in truck technology help attract younger drivers. (Cargo Transporters Case Study)

With a large number of drivers nearing retirement, how do you find a new generation to fill their shoes? In the webinar, Bolick shared that Cargo Transporters has invested in equipment in an effort to attract younger drivers.

For example, the entire fleet is AutoShift, which is appealing to both younger and women drivers. In addition, all tractors include Sirius XM radio, refrigerators, built-in scanners, 2,000-watt inverters, in-cab fifth wheel button releases, in-cab Bluetooth, Drivewise, E-ZPass, EpicVue satellite television, and more.

From a safety perspective, tractors are equipped with adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation with active brake assist, a lane departure system, roll stability control, air disc brakes, an intelligent e-log device, and DriveCam Event recorders from the Lytx Driver Safety Program.

Cargo Transporters has also created an app, called DriveCT. The app focuses on back-office communication outside the truck, helping drivers and the home office stay connected on everything from general check-ins to schedule changes. The app also includes informational videos about troubleshooting equipment problems, benefits, wellness, and more.

“We find that with Generation Y and Z, the technology is relatable and attractive,” Bolick said. “For Generation X, technology is more of a tool. We respect both perspectives and I think we attract different generations with what we offer in our equipment.”

While targeted to younger drivers, the equipment upgrades have proven to help all drivers feel at home while on the road.


3. Inclusive cultures appeal to diverse candidates. (Cargo Transporters Case Study)

Cargo Transporters has an inclusive family atmosphere aimed at attracting and retaining a diverse pool of candidates.


  • Driver Recognition: The company has a “Driver of the Month” program, monthly employee meals, driver appreciation gifts, and Christmas gifts.
  • Benefits: Cargo Transporters provides medical and dental coverage for all employees and their spouses.
  • Equality and Diversity: The company was recognized by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation as one of the Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality for 2019 and scored 100% on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index—the only trucking company to receive a perfect score so far this year.
  • Social Responsibility: Cargo Transporters is actively involved in the community, supporting local schools, therapeutic horse-riding facilities, LGBTQ partners, and the local medical center.


These programs have been successful for Cargo Transporters and provide ideas for other fleets to implement while recruiting and retaining talent.


4. Safety and helpful dispatchers can attract women drivers.

During the webinar, Voie related the importance of recruiting female drivers. The Women in Trucking Association reports that the percentage of female drivers and managers is slowly increasing and there are significant benefits to this rising gender parity. 

Voie shared some top reasons trucking companies should hire more female truck drivers, backed by research including a recent study by the American Transportation Research Institute. The study found that female drivers were safer than male counterparts in every statistically significant safety behavior, and men were 20% more likely to be involved in a collision than women.

Voie explained that trucking companies must emphasize their commitment to safety and helpful dispatchers. Many women drivers are attracted by the money and pay equity, but they stay with companies that provide good benefits, treat employees well, have helpful dispatch, and offer a good company culture. Good relationships with dispatchers are particularly important for female drivers.

“Women drivers are concerned with the safety of their equipment and the safety culture of the company,” Voie noted.


Watch the full webinar on demand to see the rest of what these experts had to say.