Demand for Technicians Has Nearly Doubled in 12 Months
The latest report from the TechForce Foundation confirms what tire dealers and others in the automotive industry know too well — the demand for and shortage of technicians has gotten significantly worse in the last year. In fact, it nearly doubled.
The foundation has released the 2021 edition of its Transportation Technician Supply & Demand Report, and it details the disparity: demand went from 136,503 in 2020 to 258,000 in 2021.
"Last year demand outpaced supply by nearly three to one; now it is estimated to be five to one," the foundation says.
The 2021 report supplements the foundation's previous reports, and adjusts to reflect research from the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Energy, and Vehicle Technologies Office as well as TechForce’s own analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Among the factors contributing to the worsening outlook is the COVID-19 pandemic-related decline in post-secondary enrollments in 2020.
Last year, there were only 48,000 post secondary program completions — a far cry from the 797,530 auto/diesel/collision techs needed between 2021 and 2025.
One glimmer of hope the TechForce Foundation identified is the attitude surrounding these careers — because they were deemed essential by the government during the pandemic.
“There is no short-term immediate fix for the tech shortage because it takes time to cultivate and train new techs. However, we are seeing growing industry support and student engagement with near term solutions like the network launched earlier this year by TechForce,” says Jennifer Maher, TechForce CEO.
The foundation is using its own home-grown social network, JoinTechForce.org, to attract and create relationships among professional technicians and tech students. "They are using it to connect with each other, employers and schools. The transportation community is supporting it with content and using it to learn, connect, find scholarships and events, explore job opportunities while competing for prizes and leaderboard status."
Greg Settle, director emeritus of national initiatives and author of the latest TechForce Foundation report, “We have done our best to make allowances for the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is clear that the long-term social and economic consequences remain unknown.”
Jerome Grant, CEO of Universal Technical Institute, says, “As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, skilled workers remain vital to our nation’s economy. This report is informative as to the trends for emerging areas within the automotive field including some initial details on the impact of electric vehicles.”