You’ve more than likely heard about the possible upcoming “driver shortage.” It turns out the trucking industry should be worried about another type of shortage.
The number of open positions for automotive technicians is on the rise. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the automotive repair maintenance industry is expected to add 237,500 new jobs and have a 30% growth rate through 2020.
According to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, there approximately 3,500 diesel truck technicians coming out of technical schools each year. That will not be enough to keep up with the job growth expected and the large hit the industry is expected to hit by the Baby Boomer retirees.
“As an industry, we don’t do a very good job of promoting the occupation, and that is a national problem,” says John Putzier, CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Association. “Our culture currently thinks that everyone should go to college. We have lost the visibility of what is really a very good profession.”
Part of the issue also may have to do with how much the role of the technician has changed over the year. Yes you still need to have the same basic skills and understand the ins and outs of the vehicles you work on, but everything is much more high-tech now. There are things standard on trucks today that hadn’t even been invented a decade ago. That change towards technology isn’t going away either, in fact it’s growing more and more each day. Now the focus is on alternative fuel, gas efficiency, voice recognition, GPS mapping and voice recognition. Today’s world simply requires a technician with a different knowledge base than it did 30 years ago.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the average diesel mechanic salary is $42,320 per year, or $20.35 per hour. The average diesel mechanic certification training lasts 12-18 months, though some companies offer on-the-job or apprentice training.
Knowledgeable diesel mechanics play a vital role in the trucking industry a shortage would greatly impact the shipping chain.
Sources: Post-Gazette, National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence
So we want to hear from you out there. Do you agree? Are you noticing a a need for more technicians? Do you think the day-to-day role of a technician has changed over the past years?