The answer to the technician shortage

March 8, 2024
Though there are many factors contributing to the technician shortage, one way the automotive industry can begin to rebuild its staff is through diversity.

According to an industry report (RatchetandWrench.com/33008487) from PTEN’s sibling brand, Ratchet + Wrench, the technician shortage remains a difficult obstacle for 68 percent of shop owners. Though there are many factors contributing to the technician shortage, one way the automotive industry can begin to rebuild its staff is through diversity. 

Only 12.3 percent of automotive repair and maintenance workers are female, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Though this number continues to increase every year, there is still much untapped potential, and unfortunately, women are still more deterred than encouraged to join this industry. 

One of the main reasons women tend to steer clear of becoming automotive technicians is due to the industry’s image. In a panel held at AAPEX, Kim Auernheimer, co-owner/business manager at CS Automotive, spoke about how many people see technicians as “uneducated,” when actually the opposite is true. 

This image also prevents parents from seeing automotive technician as a good profession for their daughters. Another of the panelists, Jill Trotta, vice president/GM of industry, sales, and certification at RepairPal, recalled how her father reacted to her wanting to become a technician. He listed many reasons — she wouldn’t be accepted, she could get hurt, it was a non-inclusive environment, etc. — in an attempt to dissuade her. 

Though the industry image doesn’t deter all women, it’s evident to the women who do enter the industry that all is not fair between male and female technicians. For Nissan Master Technician, Nelly Colon, she notes issues she’s had with customers not believing she’s a capable technician, as well as other issues like not having a properly fitting uniform due to women’s sizes not being available. An ill-fitting uniform can be hazardous for technicians as the extra fabric can get caught in repairs they’re doing. 

March is National Women’s Month, so what better time than now to start looking at how you can diversify your staff by bringing more women into the mix and doing what you can to shrink the shortage? It’s easy to continue working in the way you always have. I mean, it’s kind of human nature to do so; change isn’t easy, it doesn’t come naturally. So, I’m challenging all of you to think outside the box. What changes can you make to your shop so it’s more inclusive? How can you change up your hiring process to ensure a more diverse group of people is reached? What can you do to be a part of the answer to the technician shortage? 

Sponsored Recommendations

Snap-on Training: ADAS Level 2 - Component Testing

The second video for Snap-on's comprehensive overview of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), covering the fundamental concepts and functionalities essential for automotive...

Snap-on Training: Intro to ADAS

Snap-on's training video provides a comprehensive overview of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), covering the fundamental concepts and functionalities essential for automotive...

Snap-on Training: Guided Component Tests Level 2

The second video for Snap-on's comprehensive overview of Guided Component Tests, covering the fundamental concepts essential for diagnostic procedures.

Snap-on Training: Data Bus Testing and Diagnosis Part 1

Learn the basics of vehicle data buses and their diagnosis with Snap-on's Jason Gabrenas.

Voice Your Opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Vehicle Service Pros, create an account today!