Demand for vehicle technicians is reaching a critical point. Difficulties surrounding the recruitment and retention of technicians has been well documented for some time. But the pandemic has expediated the crisis, with aftermarket businesses loosing potentially thousands of pounds a day as a result of labour gaps. Hence, now is a good time for vehicle technicians to take charge of their careers and adopt a new route to employment.
Autotech Recruit, who manages the UK’s largest network of temporary vehicle technicians and MOT testers, has reported a huge rise in demand from the industry for contractors to cover resource issues – but the supply of vehicle technicians to fill these positions is depleting.
Indisputably, the shortages, largely triggered by the lack of young talent entering the industry over several years and the number of EU workers leaving the UK, has been exacerbated by isolating staff and furloughing employees. With the IMI reporting that redundancy levels are continuing to rise, the industry needs to adopt new recruitment methods to safeguard its future and the talent within it.
Temporary contractors are increasingly sought after
Temporary contractors are increasingly sought after throughout the industry, and this may be a solution for vehicle technicians who are currently out of work. In fact, it can take just 24 hours to become a freelance technician and start contract work.
Having the flexibility to take a role on either a short- or long-term contract basis provides technicians with the option of ‘trying out’ a position before taking on that role on a temp to perm basis. e. Of course, there are many advantages to taking the freelance route as a full-time career move. As demand currently outstrips supply, the work will certainly not dry up, and temporary vehicle technicians have the flexibility to work as much, and as close to home, as they choose.
Temporary vehicle technicians fulfil labour gaps across franchise dealer networks
Car manufacturers are not immune to the skills shortage either and are increasingly tapping into the pool of temporary contractors. In fact, since 2019, Autotech Recruit’s Manufacturer Led Programme (MLP) which sees contractors receive intensive manufacturer training to fulfil labour gaps across franchise dealer networks, has filled almost 95,000 hours.
Through this programme, vehicle technicians have the ability to work across a range of OEMs – enhancing their employability, earning potential and skill set.
It is vital that vehicle technicians don't leave the automotive industry
Recently, The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) launched its ambitious ‘Full Throttle: Driving UK Automotive Competitiveness’ plan. While calling for a ‘Build Back Better’ fund, the report highlights the potential for the industry to gain 40,000 jobs this decade but, if left stranded, it risks precipitous decline.
The industry needs to act now. During, and immediately after the 2008 recession, there were many slowdowns and layoffs, and vehicle technicians began transferring their skills and moving to other industries. It is vital that this doesn’t happen again.
Vehicle technicians also need to realise their full potential and look at new ways of gaining employment – the industry needs them.