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Source: ABRN

If you’ve been around the automotive industry for any length of time, you probably are fully aware of a couple of things. First, the technician shortage is very real. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this country needs about 76,000 auto service technicians each year between 2016 and 2026. These new technicians would replace those retiring or leaving the industry and fill new openings.

Let’s be clear — the shortage does not just affect the automotive industry. Nearly all technical industries currently face a shortage. However, the automotive industry faces a particularly challenging situation because aviation, marine, wind energy, oil and gas, construction and other industries are actively recruiting from the automotive trades. Pair that with rapid technology advancements that increase the need for technicians, and the supply-demand outlook is pretty grim.

Second, this problem will likely take decades to solve because there is not just one answer to the problem. That is why it is so important to take the time to find the entry-level techs you need today, grow them into the techs you need tomorrow and provide quality mentoring so they stay in the industry for years to come.

Taking a chance

When the outlook to fill a vacancy seems impossible, what is a shop to do? Sit back and watch it happen? Turn customers away? Pay your employees overtime because you can’t complete the jobs during regular work hours?

Perhaps a better solution is to think practically about how to fill that technician pipeline. It could be that the answer is right down the road at your local tech school or post-secondary automotive program.

But wait — can you afford to hire entry-level? Won’t they make a lot of mistakes because of their lack of experience? And will they stay in the industry? Are they worth your consideration?

Though these may be valid questions, there are many reasons to take a chance on entry-level, semi-skilled technicians:

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