Supply and Demand of Automotive Technicians
It is no secret that the last two years have reshaped the automotive industry. Especially with the part shortage, a high demand for labor, and an increase in electric vehicles, the world of automotive technicians is getting smaller.
Host of Fixed Ops 5 Corey Smith recently spoke with Jay Goninen, Co-founder & President of Wrench Way, to discuss the where automotive technicians went, and how to find more of them. Read on or listen to the full episode of Fixed Ops 5 to learn more!
COVID and Career Changes
The pandemic reshaped how we all work. From 2020 to now, there has been a “great resignation” occurring throughout the workforce. Professionals who are retiring or changing careers have caused a flood of open positions, especially in the technical space.
According to a CCC report, “a wave of retiring baby boomers will provide 100,000 auto technician job openings over the next decade or so. ”This same study also stated that “The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 4%decline in employment in the auto technician field through 2029.”
Technicians are specialized, and finding those individuals with the right skill sets has been a challenge, especially as vehicles continue to get more complex. With technology integrated in our vehicles now more than ever, technicians need more sophisticated tools to get the job done.
EVs Throw a Wrench in the Future of Technician Demand
Electric vehicles continue to gain traction in the automotive industry. With more manufacturers offering EV models, the popularity will only go upward. EVs function differently than a traditional internal combustion engine.
For starters, EVs utilize motors and batteries as the source of power. Because of this, there are specialized tools. In most cases, technicians would have to learn the key EV components for successful repairs.
With the future of zero-emissions vehicles on the horizon, even more specialized technicians are in demand. But education is key to ensure these technicians receive proper training.
Educating Technicians on EVs
Most repair shops and trade schools do not have EV as a focus, which leaves technicians ill-prepared. However, there may be a shift soon. General Motors Co., which plans to have an emissions-free lineup by 2035, partners with community colleges and trade schools through their Automotive Service Education Program (ASEP.)
Michael Durkin, GM's director of global dealer service and warranty operations, explained to The Detroit News that they have begun integrating EV content in their program. With this integration, the industry may see more technicians ready to take on EV-specific issues.
So, where did all the technicians go? They are either finding new careers, retiring, or not utilizing their skillsets to their fullest potential. Dealerships and repair shops will need to adapt to the labor demand and shortages and offer more incentives to attract and keep technicians.
As EVs continue to gain traction on the road, it is imperative that technicians can best service those vehicles. Education is paramount, and offering training for technicians is priceless.
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