Three out of five shops surveyed said they hired at least one entry-level technician in the past year. When asked what they found to be the most effective recruitment method, the top three responses were asking vendors (44.9 percent), technical schools (38.1 percent) and online postings (37.9 percent.)
Respondents ranked general career fairs as being low on the list of effective recruitment methods. As a result, CREF said it has launched collision repair specific career fairs in 2016 to help increase success rates.
It was also found that more shops are participating on technical school advisory committees. “Of those businesses that have hired from a collision repair school program in their area, almost all would hire again,” according to the report’s findings.
Many businesses are now requiring technicians to attend technical school or have prior industry experience. Soto said that Service King requires a degree or certificate from a technical school or one year of industry experience.
With a total of 187,800 technicians surveyed, approximately one of every seven (14.5 percent) left their jobs over the last 12 months, according to survey results. The majority of technicians went to work at another shop (57 percent). “This is turnover within the industry and, while disruptive to an individual shop, does not increase or decrease the pool of available technicians,” the executive summary stated.
In regard to industry turnout, it was found that approximately one in 16 collision technicians (6.2 percent) exited the trade in the last year. Some moved to a different position in the automotive business, while others left completely or retired.
As the industry continues to grow, so will the need for more technicians. With a combination of industry outreach programs, proactive body shops and more communication overall, shops throughout the industry say that technicians will be assured of having a great career path to follow.
“Becoming a body tech enables anyone who has a passion for cars to turn that passion into a career,” said Minehart. “For those who like working with their hands and love cars, I can’t think of a better trade to join.”
Stay tuned for more information about upcoming initiatives involving hiring technicians of the future.
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