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State transportation agencies currently face complex challenges in recruiting and retaining the workforce necessary to function effectively. The situation exacerbates due to the number of employees from different generations that have to coexist with varying values, expectations, and principles. These agencies are primarily comprised of two generational groups: the baby-boomers, who are approaching retirement and occupy many managerial positions; and the millennials, who are demonstrating their interest in technology and demanding dynamism in their careers. This multiplicity of interest represents a challenge for human resources (HR) in addressing workforce issues and providing the necessary means to recruit and retain qualified employees within a transportation agency. Therefore, the purpose of the study is to examine the practices in recruiting, training, and retaining qualified employees at state departments of transportation (DOTs) primarily from Region 6 DOTs of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. A comprehensive literature review, including journal articles, books, and District 6 DOT documents, reports, and training manuals provided the basis to discuss current practices in recruitment and retention with Region 6 DOT human resources (HR) staff. A total of nine HR professionals were interviewed for this study. These interviews identified the most difficult to fill positions as engineers and engineer technicians. These positions also have high turnover rates within DOTs. The primary difficulty in retaining and recruiting staff in these positions was ascribed to the wage differences between the public and the private sector. The results of the HR interviews were used to compile a questionnaire that was distributed to current DOT District 6 employees. A total of 1,109 employee surveys were collected and reviewed to develop a recommended list of best practices for recruiting and retaining DOT employees. The list of best practices includes increased social media presence, quantification of overall benefit packages, implementation of flexible work schedules and telecommuting, clarification and restructuring of the promotions and incentives process, and increased communication and feedback between staff and management.


Tran-SET Project No. 17PPLSU07