Using Technology to Recruit and Attract Forklift Drivers
“I would buy a new forklift right away if it came with a trained operator.” Forklift salespeople are constantly hearing this refrain from desperate factory and logistics managers. Companies all over North America are looking for skilled forklift operators and logistic workers to keep up with their ever-growing operations, and having difficulties filling their open positions. There are currently 47,500 open jobs for forklift operators alone on Indeed.com. The more complicated stand-up reach-truck drivers are even harder to find due to the complexity of operation.
Why is there such a shortage of forklift drivers? For starters, digital and e-commerce industries are booming, in stark contrast to industries involving manual labor. The idea of working a blue collar job isn’t attractive to young people just entering the workforce, and many of them aren’t even aware of the job possibilities that exist outside of an office or online environment. Unemployment is at an all-time low, making it difficult for warehouses to retain their current workers and attract new ones.
A recent World Bank report predicts the shortage of forklift drivers will only get worse, especially in developed countries. Many baby boomers are still working, and we haven’t felt the full impact of their departure from the workforce. Job automation still hasn’t infiltrated most industries to the extent that it’s fully replacing people. This leaves current job vacancies unfilled and these types of vacancies will only increase.
Organizations are already working diligently to combat the current and future job shortages. They’re turning to social media channels to find the right people for the job, and to change the minds of the younger generations about operating forklifts. Some companies aren’t trying to attract experienced drivers anymore. Instead, they’re looking to attract drivers with the right attitude and work ethic..
Where does virtual reality come into play for hiring, training, and retention? Most enterprises already have dedicated onboarding programs and one-week training. Most training combines theory and practical experience, but don’t have an easy way to screen applicants. By utilizing a virtual environment, companies have a quick and easy way to test applicants with existing forklift experience and to quickly train new employees.
Virtual forklift training also provides an opportunity for existing employees to learn new skills and move up in the industry. Learning how to drive the stand-up forklift model brings new challenges and better pay. VR forklift training benefits both the company and employee by creating a mutually beneficial relationship. It encourages employees to stay with a company that invests directly in them and the company, in turn, retains seasoned forklift drivers.