Quantcast
Jump to content


Blue collar no more: Skilled auto technicians are in high demand


AutoShopOwner

Recommended Posts

KEY POINTS

  • The tight labor market can be a boon for blue-collar workers: They are more likely to find good-paying jobs and experience rapid wage growth.
  • More employers are trying to tackle the aversion to manual labor jobs by offering workers higher salaries, tuition reimbursement and apprenticeship programs.
  • Technology is also transforming blue-collar workplaces, making more advanced skills in demand.

Across the country there are more drivers on the road, and many of them hanging on to their vehicles longer than ever. That means workers like Michael Gerhart are in demand.

Gerhart, a master auto technician at Pep Boys, has been fixing cars for nearly three decades, keeping on top of his skills as technology advances and learning how to do his job in a new way. Today, his focus is on engine diagnostic work, including things like the driveability of vehicles and emissions testing for the state of New Jersey. He works on different vehicles throughout the day, flexing his knowledge base on makes and models of all kinds.

“Cars have changed a lot, even in the past 10 years as far as the diagnostic end of things, and training has become more advanced as far as what’s required to fix the current vehicles,” Gerhart said. “It definitely doesn’t get boring and it’s always changing.”

Some 46,000 automotive service technicians and mechanics will be needed to fill roles through 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, at a time when the skills gap and worker shortage is particularly acute for blue-collar jobs. As economic growth is expected to continue in 2019, so too is a labor shortage both blue-collar and low-paying services occupations, a recent study from The Conference Board found. Baby boomers are aging out of the workforce at the same time the pool of available labor has become more educated, and thus less interested in blue-collar jobs.

image.png

Automotive mechanics and technicians like Michael Gerhart are in high demand as a blue-collar worker shortage is expected to continue this year.
Kate Rogers | CNBC

“In the U.S., more than most other advanced economies, the American dream is to go to a four-year college and not have a manual job. For a while it was a not a problem because there was no shortage. Now, there is a big shortage, and people with a bachelor’s degree are just not interested in those jobs. There is a stigma connected to manual labor that is very hard to break,” said Gad Levanon, chief economist at The Conference Board. The report says the shortage will be most visible in transportation, production, health-care support, food services, cleaning and maintenance occupations.

To help bridge this gap of available workers, Icahn Automotive, with brands like AAMCO and Pep Boys, recently launched its “Race to 2026” program, to invest in and support future automotive technicians and students who might have an interest in the trade. The program will offer scholarships, tuition reimbursement and apprenticeship programs, along with job placement and continuing education opportunities in partnering with schools like Lincoln Tech and Universal Technical Institute.

Part of the message is that this isn’t the blue-collar work of years past.

“I think there’s a stigma around, you know, the type of work and it’s still this old, kind of get-your-hands-dirty, greasy job. But as you look around, there’s been dramatic change in the way that a shop looks. And today’s shop is really more of a house of technology where students today should be thinking about that role as really a STEM career,” said Brian Kaner, Icahn Automotive Service and Real Estate president.

While the median salary for auto service technicians and mechanics was around $40,000 a year in 2017, those with experience and more advanced certifications can potentially earn six-figure salaries during their career. The Conference Board study points out that continued tightness in the labor market, while frustrating for employers, can actually be a boon for workers: They are more likely to find good-paying jobs and experience rapid wage growth. For technicians like Gerhart, it can also foster a passion.

“It’s been great doing this — I raised a family on this. It’s a challenging field to get into, but at the end of the day, I think it’s worth it. As long as you can keep up with the technology that’s out there and you’re given a chance to use it, it can be a very rewarding career,” he said.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/08/skilled-auto-technicians-are-in-high-demand.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...


Does anyone have thoughts on how to handle the squeeze we are seeing in our industry over the next 5-10 years.

Wages for technicians need to increase however consumer earning has stayed relatively flat lately, making people more price sensitive. It seems to me that our industry needs to become more efficient in order to be able to attract skilled labor, stay on top of new technology and still remain profitable without a massive increase in prices for our customers.

A sharp 18 year old can study IT for a couple years and make $40,000 in an office. Within 5 years a skilled IT technician is earning $60-70k+. As an industry we need to be able to offer a similar career path that doesn't involve our employees working 6 days a week and spending $100,000 on tools...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

    • By Joe Marconi in Joe's Blog
         5
      Typically, when productivity suffers, the shop owner or manager directs their attention to the technicians. Are they doing all they can do to maintain high billable hours? Are they as efficient as they can be?  Is there time being wasted throughout the technician’s day? 
      All these reasons factor into production problems, but before we point fingers at the technicians, let’s consider a few other factors.
      Are estimates being written properly? Are labor testing and inspections being billed out correctly? Are you charging enough for testing and inspecting, especially for highly specialized electrical, on-board computer issues, and other complex drivability work?  Is there a clear workflow process everyone follows that details every step from the write-up to vehicle delivery? Do you track comebacks, and is that affecting production?  Is the shop layout not conducive to high production? For example, is it unorganized, where shop tools, technical information, and equipment are not easily accessible to every technician?  Are you charging the correct labor rate and allowing for variables such as rust, vehicle age, and the fact that most labor guides are wrong? Also, is there effective communication between the tech and the service advisor to ensure that extra labor time is accounted for and billed to the customer? These are a few of the top reasons for low productivity problems. There are others, but the main point is to look at the entire operation. Productivity is a team effort.  Blaming the techs or other staff members does not get to the root cause in most cases.
      Maintaining adequate production levels is the responsibility of management to create the processes that will lead to high production while holding everyone accountable. 
  • Similar Topics

    • By Transmission Repair

      Premium Member Content 

      This content is hidden to guests, one of the benefits of a paid membership. Please login or register to view this content.

    • By ASOG Podcast
      Watch THIS Before Trying To Open A Business
    • By Joe Marconi
      Many shop owners have increased their labor rates in the past year or so. That is great news. Now, what's your next move? 
      Anyone who knows me knows that, in my opinion, in general, we have been too cheap for too long.  But, determining your labor rate is not the only consideration to attaining a profitable business. 
      What about productivity, efficiency, keeping expenses in line, gross profit, and net profit? 
      What are you doing to ensure you are meeting the financial needs of your business and also paying your employees the money they desire? 
       
    • By carmcapriotto
      On Record with Lauren Fix as she discusses the used car market and the importance of car maintenance.
      Lauren Fix, Car Coach Reports,  Total Car Score Podcast, is an automotive expert and analyst based in Buffalo, NY. She has written three books on automobiles. She has appeared on CNN, Fox News, Newsmax TV, CNBC, and USA Radio’s Daybreak USA show. Lauren's previous episodes HERE
      Show Notes:  
      Car Coach Reports Prior to covid selling cars: 17.5 million vs 13.7 million now. Average car profit to manufacturer: 10K...4 million sales lost People are buying out their car lease now Dealerships have 30% retention for car repair Repossessions are increasing- people bought cars during COVID, inflation and recession “Doing maintenance now will save you money down the road” Which cars can last 300K miles? Iseecars.com  “Never invest more in a car than it’s worth” USAmotorjobs  
      Connect with the Podcast:
       
      Aftermarket Radio Network
      Subscribe on YouTube
      Visit us on the Web
      Follow on Facebook
      Become an Insider
      Buy me a coffee
      Important Books
      Check out today's partner:
       
      Dorman gives people greater freedom to fix vehicles by constantly developing new repair solutions that put owners and technicians first. Take the Dorman Virtual Tour at www.DormanProducts.com/Tour
       


      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By Joe Marconi
      For the first time in a VERY LONG time, I see a lot of positive news with regard to labor rates.  More and more shop owners and managers are crunching their numbers and increasing their labor rates to better ensure their companies achieves a profit and also to be able to pay their employees what they deserve. 
      Profit is needed in order to build for the future and to be able to attract quality people. 
      I really think that this is perhaps the best time in our recent history to revisit your labor rates and bottom line and adjust your rates accordingly.  
      Have you adjusted your labor rates recently, or plan on it? 
       


  • Similar Tagged Content

  • By nptrb, in Automotive Industry,

    By nptrb, in Automotive Industry,

  • Our Sponsors



×
×
  • Create New...