WHAT THE ISSUE IS
The qualified technician shortage has been a growing industry problem for many years, as older generations of mechanics retire without sufficient interest among younger people to fill this job. Our industry has struggled to recruit new technicians and, in some cases, convince their parents that there is a rewarding and lucrative career alternative to pursuing a four year college degree. Maintenance and repair technicians keep the American fleet rolling and, in turn, directly impact nearly everyone in the auto care industry. Automotive technician employment in 2019 totaled more than 914,200 men and women at general repair shops, vehicle dealerships and gasoline service stations.
There are some indications that the more sophisticated nature of vehicles today, and the computer proficiency necessary to properly diagnose them, may begin to reverse these attitudes towards a career as a vehicle tech. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects automotive technicians’ employment to grow 6.1 percent annually through 2026. The increased number of vehicles in operation, reflecting continued growth in the number of multi-car families, will drive this growth.
The viability of our industry is dependent, in part, on our ability to recruit and train skilled technicians that can diagnose and repair modern vehicles. As Congress continues to explore apprenticeship programs and other initiatives that seek to address workforce shortages, it should include auto repair technicians.
HOW THIS IMPACTS YOU
If repair shops are not able to recruit and retain qualified auto care technicians, it could impact the overall health of the auto care industry by stymieing growth from lower car counts in repair facilities that also translate to loss of parts sales.