How do young automotive technicians feel about career in the aftermarket?

A new report has indicated that the automotive aftermarket urgently needs to prioritise the talents of young automotive technicians, as the industry faces a skills shortage. 

Produced by Autotech Academy, the report shines a spotlight on the aspirations, concerns and expectations of young vehicle technicians between the ages of 16-24. The results of the survey, conducted between June and August 2023, show how crucial it is for the aftermarket to act and build on new talent, or risk being unable to find workers as the skills shortage continues to bite. 

For years, the automotive industry has grappled with skills shortages and the challenge of attracting fresh talent. According to the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), there are 160,000 vacancies in the sector that need filling by 2031, something that could be helped by taking on more young automotive technicians.

Ambition but lack of trust

Autotech Academy’s Automotive Future Survey Report presents a deep overview of the situation. The survey, which focused on respondents across 90 colleges in the UK, found that around 42% lack confidence in securing a well-paid job within the industry after completing their automotive course.

The Autotech Academy survey also reveals an industry brimming with ambition, with two thirds of respondents citing their unwavering passion for all things automotive as the primary reason for choosing this career path. Over 15% of the young automotive technicians surveyed reported that they prefer the hands-on nature of the automotive industry, emphasising the value of practical skills.

Encouragingly, almost all respondents (95%) expressed their desire to carve out a career in the automotive industry.

Young automotive technicians are not simply seeking employment, however. They are also searching for a fulfilling career. Nearly 90% of them are confident that they will find enjoyment in their chosen profession in the automotive industry.

Interestingly, these aspiring vehicle technicians prioritise job enjoyment above all else when considering employment opportunities, giving it an average rating of 4.97 out of 5. A resounding 85% envision a long-term future as vehicle technicians, a dedication which signifies a commitment to the industry and a desire for career stability.

Young automotive technicians not confident on pay

However, there is a stark discrepancy between enthusiasm and confidence in the industry’s ability to provide well-paid jobs.

Two thirds of respondents are confident they will find employment in the motor industry. But when it comes to finding a well-paid job in the sector, that confidence slips by almost 9%. In an era where the automotive sector faces a severe skills shortage, this lack of confidence in competitive salaries is a serious concern.

Autotech Academy states that this means that a third of newly qualified or nearly qualified young automotive technicians do not have the confidence necessary to pursue their qualification as a profession. This lack of assurance among many young vehicle technicians is a significant cause for concern. This is likely due in part to the fact that automotive employers are often unwilling to consider hiring qualified candidates without practical experience.

Help from Autotech Academy

The UK’s motor industry simply cannot afford to lose this young automotive technicians talent, and it is therefore imperative that ways are found to develop more inclusive and accessible employment practices in the sector. By doing so, the industry can create a more robust and competitive talent pool, to the benefit of everyone involved.

Simon King, Interim CEO of Autotech Group, commented: “Autotech Academy’s ‘Automotive Future Survey Report’ is a call to action. It highlights the passion, ambition, and potential of the next generation of vehicle technicians and is a reminder that the automotive industry has much to offer in terms of innovation and opportunity.

“Yet, it is essential to continue promoting and supporting the sector to ensure a strong and sustainable future for both the industry and the skilled professionals dedicated to it. By addressing these issues head-on, we can nurture these young automotive technicians that will help drive the automotive industry forward and ensure that its future is stable.”

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