Transportation and logistics is one of the most far-reaching and integral sectors to the stability of the national economy. It is the driving force that keeps the wheels of industry in motion.
More and more, individuals with disabilities are being confronted with challenges when seeking employment in this sector, but progressive businesses that understand how best to support this group are now tapping into a welcome source of outstanding talent.
Understanding the present transport industry sector landscape
The latest data published by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics shows that as of 2015, the total value to GDP from the U.S. transport and logistics sector stood at just over $18.03 trillion - at the time, this represented nine percent of the nation's overall GDP.
It means that transport and logistics must be viewed among the most important sectors for economic growth. Furthermore, with 70 percent of domestic freight transported by heavy goods vehicles, trucking is at the very forefront of these logistics operations.
More than 10 billion tons of freight are moved annually across the country, so ensuring there is adequate flexibility and capacity within the nation's logistics and transport sector is of paramount importance.
What challenges face transport operators?
Two of the major issues facing the transport and logistics sector across the U.S. at present are an aging workforce and an ongoing shortage in qualified personnel.
The American Trucking Association's (AMA) Truck Driver Shortage Analysis report showed the average age for drivers in the transport and logistics sector now stands at 49. It means a considerable number of existing drivers will be facing retirement in the coming years.
At the same time, operators are continuing to struggle with a lack of qualified and available drivers across the country. The AMA's figures estimate that this labor shortage currently stands at more than 48,000 workers.
Attracting more and new entrants to the profession is therefore a major challenge that must be overcome in the near future, with individuals with disabilities a potential source of talent that operators could now tap into.
Increasing engagement with individuals with disabilities
Businesses in the transport and logistics field must examine new avenues for talent sourcing to meet the growing need for more drivers, administrators, engineers and other staff that help to keep the transportation logistics sector moving. It means that reaching out to the untapped labor pool of individuals with disabilities can help meet this need for skilled professionals.
Across the U.S., there are more than 30.1 million Americans of working age with a disability. This therefore represents a diverse group of talented potential job seekers that businesses should be actively seeking to engage with.
However, when doing so, transport sector operators must understand their responsibilities as part of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It states that all reasonable accommodations to support individuals with disabilities must be made to enable them to carry out their work.
This means offering support like tailored seating to ensure comfort during long hours behind the wheel, or by ensuring time for regular blood sugar testing and breaks for those with diabetes. Companies must remember that not all disabilities will be physically apparent, but these individuals should also be included in engagement plans.
Organizations hoping to secure new talent that are keen to increase their levels of engagement with individuals with disabilities should get in touch with our team to learn more. Getting Hired is uniquely placed to support businesses in their goal to increase disability hiring, and operators in the transport and logistics sector are no exception.
Contributions to this blog were made by Patrick Hodge, Business Development Manager at Getting Hired.