As everyone in the automotive industry knows, there is currently a desperate shortage of auto techs. Currently the outflow of techs from the industry is very high for a number of reasons. Only one new tech enters for every three who leave. This is a real problem for auto shops that want to keep their doors open and their customers served. If these shops are going to remain viable or experience growth, they need to work on recruiting techs to their businesses continuously.
Techs Are Seeking Other Options
In 2017, an Automotive Service Association report stated that 45% of show owners said recruiting techs was their number one challenge. Some of that outflow in the industry is due to Baby Boomers retiring and leaving the field. The job itself turns others away.
The same year, 2017, the median salary for auto mechanics was only around $40,000 a year. Other careers require similar amounts of education or training but pay better than auto repair and do not require investments in tools. Many of these jobs are not as arduous, do not require ongoing training, and do not produce as much stress and depression in their workers either. Lower wages – or perceived low wages – and higher expectations of workers have given plenty of techs the incentive to leave the field.
Because of this general trend, every shop owner or manager has a tougher job now. It is not enough to simply post open positions and wait for techs to come to you. You have to contact techs repeatedly. Some of them will not be interested. Some of them may say they are interested and then ghost an interview or even their first day on the job because they need a good reason to come work for you. They do have job security because there is a shortage of techs, after all.
Tips for Recruiting Techs
If all the traditional ways of hiring workers are not working well, what else do you do? You woo them. If you make the first move by putting out an ad and you get no response, you have to do more. You have to persuade them that working for you will be a good deal for them, an offer they’d be crazy to refuse.
It’s your job to find solid candidates, either through databases, employment services, your own records, or grapevine information. Get out in the community and hustle. Attend job fairs and contact training or tech centers where the up and coming techs are. Make your face and your shop a familiar one, so when those techs finish their technical training they will think of your shop. Some shops sponsor automotive classes or paid training for this reason.
Target specific techs, the ones you think would be a great fit for your shop, and reach out to them directly either by calling them, texting, or contacting them by email. Don’t harass them, but maintain a line of communication. Let them know if they want to leave their current position, your shop is a great place to work and you are willing to be competitive on wages and benefits.
The techs you are interested in may say they are happy where they are and not interested in changing jobs. This might be perfectly true – for now. Or you might be able to change their minds if you keep a line of communication open. Invite them to your shop so they can see what a great place to work it is. (Making it a great place to work is another effective recruitment tool for your shop.)
Over time, if you offer good wages and benefits, if you treat your other techs with fairness, and if you continuously seek out, target, and woo potential techs both in your community and online, fully staffing your shop is very possible.
It may seem like an insurmountable goal to recruit and keep enough good techs working at your shop with all of the change in the industry and other shops competing with you to meet the same goal. However, nothing is impossible. You can take action by using more aggressive recruiting techniques and committing to ongoing recruitment.
How does your shop handle recruitment? What is your success rate for the methods that you use? We would love to hear from you about your experience recruiting techs. Please leave your comments either here or in our forums.