Auto Service World
News   September 16, 2020   by Allan Janssen

Tech shortage continues to worsen: new study

The U.S. will be short approximately 642,000 automotive, diesel, and collision technicians by 2024 if current trends hold, according to a new study by TechForce Foundation.

The Phoenix, Ariz.-based non-profit group has just released its 2020 Transportation Technician Supply & Demand Report, with its conclusion that the transportation technician shortage continues to worsen.

The 2020 Technician Supply & Demand Report supplements the Foundation’s previous reports, adjusting prior projections to reflect research from the National Center for Education Statistics and TechForce’s own analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Citing both increasing demand for professional techs and a declining supply of new techs entering the industry, the update concludes that the technician shortage is increasing in severity despite a slight uptick in new post-secondary degrees and certificates for future diesel technicians.

“Although demand is strong, with 642,000 auto/diesel/collision techs needed between 2020 and 2024, the shortage continues to worsen,” said Jennifer Maher, TechForce CEO. “The good news is these careers have been deemed essential by the government, and the transportation industry is organizing to do something about the shortage. TechForce’s campaigns are leveraging the industry’s collective voice to inspire the next generation of technicians and address the root causes of the shortage.”

Recent surveys show an increased interest in transportation technology work, both among younger students and career changers whose jobs may have been lost or furloughed because of the pandemic. Surveys of high school students show that more than half are open to something other than a four-year degree.

The report concludes that for both the near- and long-term, the only sustainable solution is to:

  • Focus as an industry on increasing awareness of the career opportunities that exist for new entrant transportation technicians
  • Turn that awareness into interest
  • Turn that interest into enrolments in our high school and postsecondary training programs
  • Engage with schools to bring their students into mentorships and apprenticeships to bridge the students’ gap between education and industry
  • Turn those mentorships and apprenticeships into employees
  • Retain those employees through competitive pay, good benefits and a great company culture focused on caring for its employees

According to TechForce Director of National Initiatives Greg Settle, who authored the report, “Our projections do not reflect potential impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we are seeing indications of increased interest in technical program enrollments. With our next report at year-end, we expect to be able to provide further insight into COVID-19 related trends.”

“Despite record rates of unemployment, there continues to be strong demand for our graduates,” says Jerome Grant, CEO of Universal Technical Institute. “Employers need skilled technicians to fill essential jobs and, as many in our nation look for new paths to prosperity, we’re seeing growing interest in our programs and in technical careers.”

You can download the 2020 Technician Supply & Demand Report HERE.

TechForce Foundation is a nonprofit with the mission to champion students to and through their technical education and into careers as professional transportation technicians. TechForce distributes more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants annually, thanks to its generous corporate sponsors and donors. It also spearheads a workforce development initiative to help encourage and support more young people to pursue the vehicle technician profession.



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22 Comments » for Tech shortage continues to worsen: new study
  1. Philip Singer says:

    Have you or are there any figures for Canada with respect to the shortage of technicians?

    • Allan Janssen Allan Janssen says:

      Hi Phil. I’m sorry, but I don’t know of any studies that have looked at that. I would like to know that number too, and I have put out requests to a number of groups. So far, I haven’t found the answer. I’ll keep looking.

      • JOHN BRENNAN says:

        How is the BLS able to predict what is going to happen tomorrow?All the industry experts have been predicting ride sharing and self driving cars to cut new car sales in half over the next few years.I have been a technician in new car dealers for 38 years and there has always been shortages of idiots willing to work for free.It’s just another ploy and wage fixing technique.

      • Brent Hansen says:

        If you want the answer, just ask me, I will tell you why nobody wants to get into this industry. Social media has exposed what will happen to these tech school grads once they get into the trade. The majority of them will end up in a dealership working for flat rate pay. The Dealerships have the worst benefits, no pension or retirement and inconsistent pay. The warranty times they pay are a joke. If you run out of work because there is not enough work to go around for all the techs they hired, the owners don’t care since they don’t have to pay you. I have told anyone that will listen to never get into this trade, never! I am definitely not the only one, nobody that I know who works as a flat rate dealership tech would ever recommend to someone they like to seek out a career in this steaming pile of a trade.
        I could go on forever with numerous examples of the life as a flat rate dealer tech, it would take several days if you wanna hear it.

  2. Richard Crowley says:

    I am a retired Ford technician. specializing in drivability and electrical issues. I see the data for shortage but my real concern is lack of pay for needed skills and tool requirements and continued schooling for advanced technology in today’s cars. I don’t see much of a change coming.

    • JOHN BRENNAN says:

      They are blowing them out far faster than they will ever be able to create new ones.”A nationwide survey by Carlisle & Co. recently found that technicians are miserable — so miserable that almost a quarter of them left their dealerships last year. Another 25 percent left the industry altogether. Unstable pay and feeling undervalued were major reasons. MIT labor economist Tom Kochan says there’s one way to change that.”

    • JOHN BRENNAN says:

      Ford just robbed 40% from technicians of directed repairs because they invested their own hard earned money into expensive power tools then can’t figure out why they are having technician shortages.

  3. JOHN BRENNAN says:

    A technicians current market value is 61.33-71% of their stated retail shop rates.NADA has been criminally colluding to force their gross margins on service labor continually higher and higher for years.Nobody more than doubles the cost of anything especially labor.We have scumbag car dealers charging $165 an hour now trying to pay some hapless idiot $13 an hour on a flat-rate or 1,269% over cost.That’s worse than pharmaceuticals.That is not a business,it’s scam!”A nationwide survey by Carlisle & Co. recently found that technicians are miserable — so miserable that almost a quarter of them left their dealerships last year. Another 25 percent left the industry altogether. Unstable pay and feeling undervalued were major reasons. MIT labor economist Tom Kochan says there’s one way to change that.”

  4. JOHN BRENNAN says:

    This is the current average gross profit margin for any skilled trade or professional service(On the trailing twelve months basis gross margin in 4 Q 2019 grew to 38.67 %.)More specific to the category(Eqmm EquipmentOperators,MasterMechanics 49.05 392.40 9.2 58.1 28.50 77.55 620.40) This means my value as a technician is 61.33-71% of your stated retail shop rate.A competitive 40% margin is 80% over cost and 87% gross margin is 751% over and nearly 10 times what is normally acceptable.These dealers are criminally colluding to cap the technicians pay at 25% or less.Technicians have a right to their market values and they should only be applying a competitive margin but they force the shop rates as high as they think the marklet will bear then force the technicians pay down to increase these margins.That is organized crime and not capitalism!

  5. JOHN BRENNAN says:

    7.1 million scientist and engineers in this penal colony of a country.THERE IS NO SHORTAGE OF TECHNICIANS there is just a massive oversupply of scumbag salesman trying to collect 90% margins on service labor.

  6. JOHN BRENNAN says:

    There have been shortages of technicians willing to do free warranty work and recalls since the dawn of time.

  7. JOHN BRENNAN says:

    The BLS is actually predicting a decline in employment for technicians and industry experts are predicting that ride sharing and self driving cars are going to cut new car sales in half in the next few years.Crying shortages constantly is just another criminal wage fixing technique.There are only shortages of people to work free and cheap.”Employment of automotive service technicians and mechanics is projected to decline 4 percent from 2019 to 2029.

  8. JOHN BRENNAN says:

    You are probably going to need a good calculator for this,but what is 99% of nothing?

  9. JOHN BRENNAN says:

    I was making more money back when shop rates were only $60 an hour,now they are $160.You really don’t need an MIT labor economists to figure that shit out.

  10. JOHN BRENNAN says:

    This is a 30 city average for skilled trades,45% margin or 90% over is very high.We have these new car dealers and rathole chop shops trying for 90% GPM’s and 1,200% over now.

  11. bob conrad says:

    Technicians as a whole do not unite to combat greedy dealership owners. The owners know this and wont do anything until the last technician is gone. It’s been a gravy train that they cannot let go of.

    • JOHN BRENNAN says:

      NADA is very organized against the technicians and they are being criminally wage fixed.Technicians should be advised of the laws,their rights and values upon hire just like OSHA and sexual harassment training.The average competitive gross profit margin on any skilled trade or professional service is currently 38.67%,29% more specific to mechanics which makes a technicians real market value at between 61.33-71% of their stated retail shop rates.Techs are being paid a fraction of that and are being capped at 25% or less across the board.Also the flat-rate system is a competitive bidding process and all they are legally allowed to do is politely ask the technician what they are willing to perform the repair/s for and either accept or decline their bids.Nobody would believe how corrupt it all is now!

  12. Anthony cello says:

    Hello current auto tech at a Chrysler dealer. Iv been in the trade about 7 years now. I can list about 10 reasons why we don’t want to do this any more.

  13. Corey Smith says:

    25 years as a dealer mechanic. ASE master, L1, smog licence, Audi master tech, at dealers in California. Constant training, 30 grand plus in tools, and constantly getting pay chiseled away at. You will be completely unappreciated, unvalued, and miserable. I literaly came in one morning with my truck, and left with my tools. Everyone here is right, do anything else. If you are smart enough to be a compete ttech on today’s , you are smart enough to do something else.

  14. TP says:

    To those reading the above….they are absolutely correct. Avoid this industry like your life depends on it. Because it does. Seek another line of work.

  15. Ben says:

    Why be a mechanic.A person can start out in a warehouse making more and move up and make more than a person will ever make as a mechanic and NO tools to buy and ho yeah there’s that health ins and retirement.I have been a mechanic for 36 years and when asked I tell the young people to run from auto repair.The point is there is way better pay in other industries.

  16. Bria LaPoint says:

    That’s hilarious. I told my step dad that I wanted to be a mechanic or welder. He told me that only men do that. Part of the problem is chauvinism. If a female wants to be a welder or mechanic LET HER. who gives a rats behind if she isn’t male?

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