No matter how big a tire business gets, technician demand is a real issue for every shop out there. However, after a promising amount of technician hires in recent years, could the technician shortage be faltering? A look at demand and how our Top Shops find success may give us that answer.
In recent years, we have seen actual growth in terms of technicians hired in this industry. That doesn’t mean the technician shortage or demand is going away, but there’s a reason to be optimistic about last year’s TechForce Foundation’s Supply and Demand report. After a period of declining employment numbers from 2018 – 2020, there were signs of a rebound in 2021. Close to 30,000 automotive technicians were employed that year, representing a 4.2% expansion in tech employment compared to 2020.
That trend was promising, however, the demand for automotive technicians, driven by those choosing to move on, still surpasses the demand that comes from shop growth. This means that though shops are growing and in turn need new employees, that still doesn’t outweigh the demand created by “occupational separations,” – or the amount of technician exits and occupational transfers. For example, in this chart, between 2022 and 2026, just over 178,000 new positions are needed because of growth demand, while nearly 413,000 will be needed during this same period due to occupational separation.
That’s where our Top Shops come in. You’ll find that, oftentimes, these tire dealers treat their employees like family and offer growth with training on a frequent basis. This promotes retention and makes your business more attractive to potential young technicians.
Take Tire Review’s 2023 Top Shop winner, Black’s Tire & Auto. Black’s Tire leadership prides itself on allowing Black’s team members as well as partner dealers and wholesale partner dealers access to training. Nothing can stop Black’s willingness to train employees, not even a global pandemic. In fact, during the height of COVID, a small team at Black’s created a green screen room at the company’s BTS Training Center to keep its annual sales and training conference alive.
By 2026, the demand for technicians created by occupational separations could be at its highest, peaking at almost 88,000. Meanwhile, the demand from growth could be at its lowest point since last year. A large number of occupational separations are due to retirement, so if your shop doesn’t offer competitive options, you may not be able to retain them until retirement in the first place.
Our 2022 Top Shop, Telle Tire, gives its employees plenty of benefits, including retirement. To further promote retention and recruitment, Telle Tire also offers 401(k) matching, health insurance and special perks like paid vacation on birthdays, profit sharing and more. Telle Tire also offers its technicians a continuous stream of training opportunities, from digital training to hands-on, formal and on-the-job training.
The key is positioning your shop as an attractive place to build a career, not just a job. Ample learning opportunities, room for advancement and collaborative team culture are strong draws for aspiring techs. Investing in your staff today creates a solid talent pipeline for tomorrow.
We want to hear from you! How are you dealing with the technician shortage?