The National Academies

TCRP F-09 [Completed]

Managing Transit's Workforce in the New Millennium

  Project Data
Funds: $249,187
Research Agency: McGlothin Davis, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Mary J. Davis
Effective Date: 2/1/2000
Completion Date: 1/30/2002

TCRP REPORT 77 "Managing Transit's Workforce in the New Millennium,"assesses the transit industry's workforce needs and prospects for the coming decades. Further, the report provides guidelines to enable employers to assess their own workforce needs, describes best practices for recruiting and retaining employees, and identifies ways to enhance or establish partnerships between management and labor for attracting, training, and maintaining a qualified workforce. Information was obtained from a literature search, surveys, and site visits. The report would be helpful to transit general managers, assistant general managers, directors of human resources, and other key transit officials.

Transit systems in the United States are facing the challenges of delivering service in the twenty-first century. Issues of recruitment and retention of employees coupled with the impacts of labor-market conditions and labor-management relations are of critical significance to the viability of public transit. In an era of transit agency restructuring, downsizing, and re-engineering, tailoring jobs to meet the demands of the industry has become a necessity. Demographic, sociological, cultural, and technological changes in both the industry and the national workforce will also have a critical impact on transit's employment environment.

Given transit's changing workforce needs, research is needed to describe the current status of jobs and the skill sets required to accomplish transit's mission. It is necessary to identify ways to enhance or establish partnerships between management and labor for attracting, training, and retaining a qualified workforce.

McGlothin Davis, Inc., in association with Corporate Strategies, Inc., prepared this report for TCRP Project F-09. To achieve the project's objective of assessing the transit industry's workforce needs, the researchers performed a comprehensive literature search and conducted a telephone benchmarking survey of 50 transit agencies. To identify strategies to attract, develop, and retain a qualified workforce, the researchers conducted 13 case studies, collecting qualitative and quantitative data through site visits, interviews, focus groups, observations, and document analysis.

The 13 case studies revealed commonalties and differences in how transit agencies respond to challenges in maintaining a qualified workforce, especially in difficult-to-recruit and -retain positions. Case-study findings indicate that in order for transit agencies to achieve a positive return on their recruitment, each agency must pay attention to retention. Further, the case studies revealed that the trend in transit organizations is to view human resources as a critical business function rather than as an administrative necessity, and that there is an increased level of partnering between organized labor and management.

Status: The final report is published as TCRP Report No. 77.

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