The Number 1 Resource for Vocational Truck Fleets

Fleet Management

Technician Shortage Worse Than Previously Thought

October 30, 2017

Photo: Steven Martinez
Photo: Steven Martinez

In a new report, the TechForce Foundation is predicting that demand for new vehicle technicians from 2016 to 2026 will be three times higher than was previously projected for the 2014 to 2024 period.

The TechForce Foundation, a nonprofit  that supports technical education, has teleased its Transportation Technician New Entrant Demand report, which reveals the severity of the technician shortage.

Based on analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the report focuses on technicians that are joining the field, rather than on experienced technicians who move around but don’t add to the overall trained workforce.

“BLS had underestimated the replacement component of demand-- replacing existing technicians who have retired, been promoted, or decided to find a new career,” said Greg Settle, one of the co-authors of the report and TechForce's director of national initiatives. “That methodological problem has been rectified with the new projections just issued by BLS for the 2016-2026 period.”

Previously, BLS projections showed an average annual new entrant demand of 23,720 auto technicians for the 2014-2024 period. TechForce’s report has revised that number to show demand for 75,900 for the 2016-2026 decade. The demand for collision and diesel technicians is similar. The newly projected BLS average annual new entrant demand of 28,300 diesel technicians far exceeds the previously projected demand of 7,690.

The tech shortage has been exacerbated by a variety of conditions, including a growing economy, increased demand since the 2008 recession, and increased vehicle complexity, according to Settle. The authors of the report say that to alleviate the shortage, the industry needs to focus on recruiting younger people to the field and suggest changing the “grease monkey” image of the career.

“In order to solve the tech shortage, the industry needs to pool its resources and create and disseminate consistent public messaging highlighting the many and varied opportunities of a tech career,” said Jennifer Maher, CEO and executive director of TechForce. “Right now, the industry is suffering from inadequate, fragmented financing for the cause. It’s not enough for us to talk among ourselves, we have to pull together as an industry to first, resolve it, and then to stay ahead of it so we never wind up in this position again.”


  1. 1. Chris [ November 01, 2017 @ 10:09AM ]

    Lol, your saying “we was wrong in our prodictions”. My question is what research was actually done? I have a feeling it’s just looking at a chart with numbers. That’s the problem with all of the what I call FAKE articles, nobody goes in, observes and gets experience about what is actually going on. Most reports I’ve read are pure garbage, that’s where it belongs. Wow, nobody wants to talk about the KEY points to why there is a technician shortage! Maybe they can’t, I guess they have a job to do to. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are edited multiple times to make it look somewhat good! Wait who am I and how can I be creditable. Well I’m a master certified tech 10 yrs exp. and the better you are at doing your job the less money you make. Huh? I’ve invested $45,000 in tools and looking back at previous years my annual income is decreasing. I compared 2 years I made the same amount of money. The big difference is I had a $6 an hour raise and still made the same. Manufacturers are tightening down on the flat rate system and it’s killing careers for many of us so the manufacturer can look at their charts of assets and liabilities and see more profits. But who cares right it don’t impact anyone but techs right! Let’s get more kids in the industry to fill the shortage. Just remember the next time you bring your car, truck, or whatever it maybe in for service and you get a inexperienced individual preforming a complex or simple repair that goes wrong because he or she didn’t know better or does care! Who pays in that kind of senerio and with what do they pay with. I strive for excellence no worries for me but I want out of this nightmare!

  2. 2. Michael Vincent [ November 01, 2017 @ 01:02PM ]

    I served an Auto Mechanic Apprenticeship and have worked in the automotive repair trade or related field for 45 years.
    I currently work for a large metropolitan government as a hiring manager who works hard to hire quality Auto Mechanics. I serve on our city department's apprenticeship committee and chair our citywide apprenticeship council.
    I've witnessed over the years the decline in the number of High School Auto Shop programs. I've also seen ups and downs in community college automotive training programs. I have also seen the sharp decline in the number of automotive mechanic apprenticeships nationwide. I believe that the current focus on STEM careers contributes to the negative views of the automotive repair trade as "dirty" and the lack of youth interest. The focus these days is on "clean" hi-tech work. Just ask Mike Rowe of "Dirty Jobs". It's unbelievable to me that we allow more and more undertrained and uncertified "mechanics" to work on the cars and heavy trucks we pass on the road every day. While recognition and pay can help drive an increased interest in automotive careers. I believe an early commitment by employers and educators to reintroducing our youth to the benefits of employment in the high tech auto repair industry.

  3. 3. Chris [ November 01, 2017 @ 02:10PM ]

    The last 15 yrs has been a real change in this field time to get a reality check, go see for yourself, in real world work environment NOT in a fixed one and offer a REAL perspective. High voltage systems 300volts and higher, multiplexing, programming, low voltage sensor issues doesn’t take much resistances to mess with those! I’ve been in the field from 07 till now please educate yourself! No offense cause I do it everyday on new systems and operations!

  4. 4. John C. [ November 01, 2017 @ 04:52PM ]

    This article highlights (and brings) the problem. I always (rarely happens) enjoy the tech that instead of bringing me a problem stops in to talk about solutions. The tech job has certainly grown from just diagnostic then repair to at times an arm of the OEM in that they now are part of R&D in after the sale warranty issues. The writer needs to get some shop time in then do the copy. This business is about people that like and often love their jobs in a unique way but they should not be expected to take minimal pay rates and such as a penalty for their passion. Having a true vocation and a path to realize it is far from common and few if any take up mechanic jobs as a last resort. It is unlikely to see the industry as pooling training and recruitment resources anymore than they will share proprietary diagnostic information across the board. In high schools where there are little to no industrial arts taught anymore how can any meaningful amount of interest be generated? Techs have a lot on the line and I salute everyone that does all they can to be their best everyday.

  5. 5. john [ January 26, 2018 @ 05:59PM ]

    this is the industries fault for historically low pay, poor, hazardous work conditions, poor or non existent benefits such as 401K or health plans and technicians working for a loss of hours due to poorly paying warranty pay times. There is little incentive for anyone with half a brain to go into the business.

  6. 6. John B. [ February 10, 2018 @ 08:28PM ]

    There is no other skilled trade that more than doubles the cost of labor except the auto and truck repair trades.An HVAC company may only mark up 25% but auto is starting out at 300% going up as high as 1,400%.Rampant wage fixing to increase GPM's and fraud on the flat rate times.No part of it isn't fraud.The shop rates are fixed at what they feel the market will bear then wages are forced lower with no cost relay to the customer.YOU CANNOT CHARGE A PREMIUM PRICE THEN SUBSTITUTE AN INFERIOR PRODUCT!The customers are paying for top experienced techs and being provided with inexperienced lowest paid techs available.Factory are denying claims on inconsequential technicalities and it is clearly at their discretion what they pay out regardless of the actual costs.The service managers refuse to pay experience techs properly and expecting the tech schools to churn out little boys to exploit in a virtual human trafficking situation.We have Technician Compensation Panels at national trade shows and websites for fixed ops suggesting minimum GPM's on parts and labor and will email a spreadsheet to anyone that asks.Too much corruption to even exist anymore.Dealer are making record profits and UAW hourly workers just got a big profit sharing while world class techs with a 100k in tools are fixing their junk for free.Unbelievable!


Comment On This Story

Comment: (Maximum 10000 characters)  
Leave this field empty:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.


Fuel Management

Bernie Kanavagh from WEX will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Fleet Tracking And Telematics

Todd Ewing from Verizon Connect will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Fleet Management And Leasing

Jack Firriolo from Merchants will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Sponsored by

Consolidated Service Corp. was founded by Larry Starr.

Read more