Industry Needs More than 600,000 Technicians by 2026
Fewer students completed automotive post-secondary education programs in 2021, thus widening the gap of technicians needed to work in tire dealerships and automotive service businesses across the U.S.
With 11.8% fewer automotive program graduates in 2021, along with smaller drops of graduates in diesel and collision repair programs, by 2026 the TechForce Foundation says the disparity will total nearly 1 million qualified workers between automotive, diesel and collision technicians.
The sobering numbers come from the foundation's 2022 Transportation Technician Supply & Demand Report.
The worsening technician supply picture – with combined completions dropping from 48,208 in 2020 to 44,052 in 2021, overshadows a strong year-over-year rebound in technician employment in the automotive (+4.2%) and diesel (+6.5%) repair segments. Total employment of collision repair technicians dropped 0.7% percent — continuing a six-year decline.
TechForce estimates demand for new entrant automotive/diesel/collision repair technicians – for new positions, replacements for occupational separations and unfilled positions from prior years – will reach 232,000 in 2022 and total well over 900,000 through 2026.
“This year’s report underscores not only the challenges we face in attracting, training and retaining technicians but also the boundless opportunities for talented young people to build successful, rewarding careers in one of the world’s most dynamic and technology-intensive industries,” said TechForce Foundation CEO Jennifer Maher. “The solution to this crisis lies in industry, nonprofit, education and government partners working together to build awareness, curiosity and interest in these careers among our youth.”
For the first time, the annual report also includes labor data for the U.S. aviation industry, which currently employs more than 150,000 technicians who maintain and repair aviation and avionics equipment and systems. TechForce projects nearly 78,000 new entrant technicians will be needed to fill these roles between 2022 and 2026.
The TechForce Foundation works to encourage and inspire people to explore careers as a technician. It supports students with scholarships and grants — more than $17 million so far — and also helps connect technicians to resources, mentors and employers.
Review the full 2022 demand report here.