Transportation software company Tenstreet, creators of the Driver Pulse App, have observed a continued pattern in their data that indicates the average age of drivers using the app is trending younger for the second year in a row. Their latest findings suggest that trucking companies should be actively focusing on how they can appeal to a younger workforce, and that female drivers are still an important swath of the driver population to pay attention to when hiring.
Age as a Factor
Data in this study reflects Driver Pulse users active between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022. Dates were organized by quarter and reflect all users' last activity date. Thus, each user could be counted up to once per quarter. The differences reflected over this period of time were tested statistically and found to be significant. This means that the difference is not just “random” but is likely to be “real”.
Using this data, Tenstreet observed a steady decline in the average age of users for the first year of data collected. During this time, the average age fell every 3 months until it bottomed out at 41.94 years old (not accounting for gender).
The data going into 2022 showed an interesting trend however, with the average age rising for all genders between Q4 of 2021 and Q1 of 2022.
This trend becomes clearer when you look at the growth in different age brackets quarter-by-quarter, as in the chart below:
In the transition from Q4 of 2021 to Q1 of 2022, drivers 56 and up saw their greatest quarter of growth, a time when the youngest drivers were engaging with the app less than ever. The end of the year is traditionally a time when the fewest drivers try to change jobs because it's less likely that a newer employee will get home time over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, but the fact that the oldest drivers were undeterred seems to indicate that they feel confident their experience behind the wheel will still net them the time off they need.
This rise in average age was followed by a second decline for much of 2022, with a slight uptick again in the last quarter of the year. The lower rate of engagement overall indicates the same seasonal trends around the holidays, as well as a possible reluctance for drivers to move to a new carrier and be "first in" during a time of greater economic uncertainty.
Overall, in the past 2 years, the average age of drivers has decreased by a year on average, with the average age of male drivers dropping by a year and female drivers falling by nearly a year and a half.
Gender as a Factor
As we saw in the previous chart, drivers are trending younger. The statistics around gender show an increased prevalence of women in the past two years.
While the percentage of women using Driver Pulse peaked at the end of 2021, it has stayed above 11.5% for all of 2022 - a nearly 2% Increase from the beginning of 2021. It's likely that women will continue to constitute more than 10% of the driving workforce, so carriers should keep in mind the differences between male and female drivers when planning their recruiting and marketing strategies.
Carriers can glean even more about changes in Driver Pulse usage by gender when looking at the change in different age brackets quarter-by-quarter:
Across both male and female users, the age range of 18-30 has seen huge growth in the last two years (except during the Q4 holidays, when less experienced drivers who were new to a carrier would be unlikely to get home time). Young women in particular were a high-growth group, with more than 30% growth in the number of 18-30 year-old female drivers using the app during the 2nd quarter of 2021 and substantial gains throughout the more popular employment periods of 2022. 18-30 was also the highest-growth age bracket for men.
Among older age groups of drivers, the engagement rates of both men and women with the app continued to rise, though at a more modest rate. This likely suggests that more experienced drivers changing jobs are replacing older drivers retiring, a continuing element of the evolving driver landscape.
It's important to note that while the average age of drivers has fallen over time, each age group has grown in the past two years, signaling more drivers of all ages looking for jobs through the Pulse app - an overall positive indicator of growth in the driver market
The ongoing trend of a decreasing average age of drivers using the Pulse app indicates that younger drivers will take the place of those retiring or leaving the industry, and that they are more readily willing to use technology to find jobs. Carriers need to make sure they are using job applications and onboarding tools that are friendly to tech-savvy drivers to stay relevant and continue to receive applications from the groups of drivers that are growing fastest in the industry.
The best thing carriers can do to prepare for the future is to embrace technologies that make them more relevant to younger candidates while also easing the application process for candidates of all ages. Carriers who want to stay competitive should consider process improvements like mobile-friendly online applications, electronic onboarding tools that allow for forms and documents to be supplied before orientation, and training courses that can be completed before a driver arrives at the facility.