Pay is far more important to drivers than trucking likes to admit, and a major “generation gap” exists between older and younger truck drivers, especially in regards to technology—but both pools suffer from poor training and management tactics. Those are just a couple of the major issues touched on by a variety of panels and breakout sessions during the 2016 ALK Technology Summit in Philadelphia.

“Pay is the biggest area motor carriers gloss over today,” explained Mike Khron, vice president of operations for PGT Trucking. “Pay is considerably more important to drivers than we give them credit for; I think carriers miss the boat about it.”

He added that the current level of national unemployment level of 5% means workers have “many more options” than driving a truck. “And [diver] pay has not gone up with inflation, let alone in comparison to other occupations,” Khron said.

Lindsey England, director of human resources for Pride Transport, added that driver “is just not high enough” in terms of all the difficulties they face on a daily basis. “We also tend to forget that is a human being in there” behind the wheel, she explained. “We need to put ourselves in their shoes.”

Khron noted that means changing how drivers – especially younger, more inexperienced drivers – are treated in the industry.

“As soon as they make a mistake, we’ve got a tendency to bounce them out,” he said. “Instead of using that mistake as a learning opportunity, as a chance to make an improvement, we’re getting rid of them and most of the time they end up being lost to the industry. We need to treat them differently than we treated their parents."

For more driver-related coverage from the ALK gathering, see the full story on FleetOwner.com.