According to the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association, the vehicle service and repair business is around $250 billion, or two-thirds of the total aftermarket. Hiring and retaining great technicians is a key issue with business owners, especially since technicians are retiring everyday, and fewer young people are entering the industry than in previous decades.
RECRUITING AND HIRING
One way to attract candidates into the industry is to increase shop owner and local association involvement with area high schools and their auto shop programs. Every business owner can work to help the industry by sponsoring internships and inviting young people to his businesses for career days/nights. Also, post-secondary programs are vital in drawing candidates to the industry. Hiring qualified candidates from development programs such as the University of the Aftermarket at Northwood University is a great start to finding thoroughly trained and committed talent.
Many shops are attempting to create an updated image that reflects the current demands of the industry. Advances in technology have fueled the need for candidates who are savvier in computer-based programming, schematic diagrams, and high-tech diagnostic equipment. The industry offers many challenging and rewarding opportunities students need to be made aware of the great career paths that are available to them.
Based on the 2004 I-CAR Education Foundation survey, the average age of a technician is 37.4. The declining number of techs is a result of the baby boomers who are retiring and will retire in the coming years. Some in the industry suggest that as a result of the shortage, technician pay and benefits will begin to increase. The Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association states that the “average median weekly earnings for a technician are currently 7.5 percent below the national average.”
A positive work environment, good benefits, competitive salary and continuing education help retain a talented workforce. Although the shortage may be viewed by some in the industry as subjective, there is no denying that these factors play some role in retaining quality employees. Creating a sustainable work environment shows that the boss is investing in the employees’ future and vice versa. Technicians want a stake in the organization; they want to know that they are part of a successful team.
Universal Underwriters is hosting its third annual Aftermarket Industry Conference (AIC) at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on Nov. 3, 2005. About 25 aftermarket organization leaders will be in attendance to discuss the technician shortage. Current programs that are addressing the situation will be identified, as well as what new programs or additional work needs to be done. The meeting action items will be published in the Winter issue of the Aftermarket Advisor. The action items will show tasks that may be completed by aftermarket associations, friends of the industry and individual shop owners in order to improve the technician shortage.
This article was provided by Universal Underwriters Group for informational purposes only. Universal Underwriters is not providing legal advice. Consult your attorney to determine your business’ stance on these issues. For addition information, visit www.universalunderwriters.com.