Union Pacific scrambling to replace retiring boomers
Union Pacific Railroad said it needs to fill 3,000 to 5,000 jobs system-wide this year to balance out retiring baby-boomer employees and has begun an aggressive recruiting campaign to fill the slots.
The campaign features a Web site dedicated to jobs at UP (http://www.unionpacific.jobs), on-campus recruiting at major universities and colleges throughout the country, recruitment of recent military veterans, and a series of new employee videos plainly geared to a younger mindset.
And, according to UP, a definite plus for the resume of any potential applicant — plenty of time in front of the Playstation or XBox.
'We recruit the younger generation that has had a lot of experience on video games, because so much of our equipment is joystick operated and joystick controlled,' said Paul Dannelly, UP's general director of engineering.
The Omaha, Neb.-based UP is trying to fill slots across its entire company, from entry level clerical to technical to professional. An entry-level position requires a high school diploma and starting pay is $35,000 to $40,000 dollars a year. New hires receive eight to 12 weeks of training that include studying the “Rule Book,” a thick manual of rules, regulations and safety procedures. After 30 years, employees can retire at age 60 with full benefits.
UP operates more than 8,000 locomotives and 100,000 freight cars over a rail system spanning 32,000 miles and 23 states.
In 2004, West Coast ports were snarled with congestion for months that was partly blamed on workforce shortages in the rail industry.