The automotive aftermarket may have to tap new labour sources in order to keep up with the opportunities and demands of new automotive technology.
That’s one of the conclusions of a new report, released today by the Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA).
The new Labour Market Watch report, subtitled “Gaps, Challenges & Opportunities in the Automotive Aftermarket Industry in Canada,” suggests the industry swell its ranks with more women, indigenous youth, new Canadians, and other minorities in order to meet the growing demand for skilled labour.
According to the report, the average age and experience of people working on cars in 2017, indicate a gap between the projected increase in demand and the supply of qualified people required to meet it.
“In addition to increased demand for skilled labour in the current market scenario, the industry will need a more and more specialized workforce to deal with such disruptors as hybrid, fuel cell light vehicles, electronic systems, networks, and cellular and digital technologies,” the report concludes. “This will require retraining programs for existing technicians in order to stay current with technological advancements, and making inclusion and diversity training a tactical component of apprenticeship programs for new technicians, particularly young girls, indigenous youth and other minorities.”
The report, which is available for free at the AIA website, is the result of a two-year research project launched to verify “considerable anecdotal evidence” of labour shortages in the sector. It was conducted Desrosiers Automotive Consultants (DAC) and other research partners.
A previous Labour Market Watch report, released in April of this year, examined the state of the mechanical and collision repair sectors.
Among the findings of the new report:
* New automotive technology will create opportunities for a greater number of skilled technicians in the light-vehicle aftermarket.
* 57.0 percent of the people employed in the industry in 2017 had more than five years of experience. Age could be indicative of the level of skill and experience within this industry. A little under two thirds (64.9 percent) of Canada’s 2017 aftermarket labour pool was 30 years or older in 2017.
* As more cars enter the automotive aftermarket during this time period, the demand for skilled and unskilled labour will also increase.
* The pressure that increased demand exerts on supply often drives prices up. Aftermarket suppliers must maximize pricing potential in order to address recruitment, training, and compensation needs.
Findings are based on surveys of 250 people in the mechanical sector, and 156 in the collision industry. Job forecasting for the 15 occupations that make up the automotive aftermarket was conducted for a time period of five years, from 2017 to 2022.
The jobs covered were:
- Parts driver
- Store Manager – Parts Wholesaler
- Parts Counterperson
- Customer Service Representative
- Manager, Assistant Manager
- Oil and Lube Technician
- Service Advisor
- Tire Technician
- Detailing Technician
- Automotive Service Technician – Mechanical
- Automotive Service Technician – Collision
- Automotive Service Technician – Apprentice
- Body Repair Technician (and apprentice)
- Pain Technician (and apprentice)
The executive summary and the full report can be downloaded at AIA Canada’s website.