The rise of e-commerce helped create a driver shortage that is transforming the logistics and transportation industry, but there are tools that can make sure that, when you’re filling job openings, you’re in the driver’s seat.

The rapid growth of e-commerce during the pandemic didn’t just change how Canadians shop. It’s reshaped the trucking and freight industry too, ushering in changes in delivery times, fleet composition, and the demand for short-haul drivers. 

How e-commerce fueled a driver shortage

Think back to spring 2020 when the world shut down and everything changed. Seemingly overnight, every aspect of modern life – work meetings, family gatherings, shopping, takeout, even grocery runs – moved online. Government restrictions and consumer anxiety combined to force a paradigm shift in how people shopped, and Canada’s e-commerce industry grew an eye-popping 75%. 

As the pandemic stretched on and on, the way consumers shopped fundamentally changed. People started buying everything online and faster delivery became the expectation as retailers rushed to offer the same-day or next-day shipping provided by giants like Amazon and Walmart. New industries rushed to enter the world of e-commerce and consumers became comfortable ordering everything from groceries to cars online. Now nearly three years in, there’s no sign consumers are shifting back to their old shopping habits. E-commerce is here to stay.

However, what’s good for e-commerce retailers caused logistical challenges that the transportation and logistics industry is still grappling with. Just as the sudden increase in online ordering forced a dramatic increase in the need for delivery trucks and drivers, supply chain issues led to nationwide vehicle shortages and the trucking industry was faced with thousands of job vacancies in a time of record low unemployment. 

The rise of the “last mile”

The shift to online shopping, with orders delivered by truck directly to buyers’ doors, underlines the short-haul transportation industry’s importance in the last few years. 

To cope with the logistics of last-mile deliveries and deliver the fast, efficient shipping that consumers demand, the trucking industry has had to rewrite its playbook, changing its fleet composition – and the composition of its workforce to add more short-haul drivers – to deliver effective service. The result? The number of truck drivers in Canada increased from 300,000 in 2020 to 324,200 in 2021.  

How to hire drivers who are in it for the long haul

With more than 50,000 trucking jobs projected to go unfilled through 2023, how can you attract and hire the drivers you need to keep your trucks on the road?

You already know that in today’s candidate-driven talent market, the recruitment tactics that used to work no longer move the needle. Gone are the days when you could simply post a listing on a job board and watch the applications pile up. Today, if you want to attract and engage talent, you need a talent recruitment program that inspires job seekers to choose your company over other employers. 

That starts with creating a brand story that showcases your company’s leadership, values, and culture and helps candidates answer the questions:

  • Why should I want to work for this company?
  • What’s in it for me?
  • What can this company offer me that others won’t?
  • Why should I apply for this job?

A successful employer brand has to meet job seekers where they are. Indeed recently commissioned a global market research in five countries to understand what workers were looking for and they are looking not only at pay but the complete compensation package, including benefits, as well as flexibility and freedom. These are all aspects employers must consider when branding their organization to potential employees, especially in an industry struggling to recruit such as transportation. To help you create a brand story that lets you control the dialogue about your company as an employer, leverage tools like the Indeed+Glassdoor Employer Branding Hub to better engage and attract drivers and other transportation professionals, and retain them in the long term.