Tapping into temporary resources to generate profit and meet demand

Tapping into temporary resources to generate profit and meet demand

This article was originally published on 29 May 2024

We’re excited to be featured in the latest issue of the Scottish Motor Trade Association's Scots Auto Scene! Dive into our market insight to discover why integrating contractors into your annual staffing strategy is more than just a short-term fix. Learn how contractors can fill long-term vacancies and drive sustained success for your business.

Market Insight by Simon King CEO, Autotech Group


As the automotive industry continues to hit full throttle on the road to technological sophistication, the shortage of skilled vehicle technicians remains a very urgent issue which needs addressing.


While hindering the ability to meet customer demand, this gap in expertise and general shortage of talent is already putting a dent in the profitability of aftermarket businesses – particularly those within the independent sector.


Workshops with unoccupied ramps due to a lack of resources are leaking profits, to the tune of over £2,000 every week – an alarming statistic for any business aiming to thrive within the sector.


A key strategy to overcome shortages is the use of temporary vehicle technicians. Proving to be more than just a quick fix, the use of contractors has become a fundamental part of business operations, helping to generate profit while addressing the shortage of skilled technicians.


The vast majority of Scottish dealer groups have already tuned into this resource, however, it has yet to filter through to the independent sector.


Putting the costs into context, employing temporary contractors could yield a profit of £800 per week for an independent business – before accounting for parts sales and services.


According to Autotech Recruit's recent annual recruitment survey, the impact on profitability as a result of the shortage in skills is not a rare occurrence. Conducted at the start of this year, the survey revealed that over half of respondents cited failing to meet demand due to a shortage of skilled vehicle technicians, while almost two-thirds disclosed that this shortage was leading to an inability to maximise profitability.


This isn’t just about numbers though; it’s about retaining valuable customers who could be driven away by a garage’s inability to meet demand.


Looking ahead, unless there is a sudden injection of talent into the industry, a garage will need to explore previously untapped avenues such as using contractors to ensure they can meet demand. For instance, the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) projects that, over the next decade, 11,400 roles in the automotive industry will need filling.


Trailing this is the electric vehicle (EV) revolution, a charge towards meeting net zero objectives that comes with its own set of challenges. Currently, just 52,000 vehicle technicians are EV-qualified – a mere 22% of the workforce – and by 2035, EVs will demand the expertise of nearly 185,000 vehicle technicians. This represents a looming gap of approximately 30,000 vehicle technicians not fully prepared to deal with EVs.


The investment in training, and upskilling existing workforces is non-negotiable; not doing so will have a significant impact on a garage’s ability to retain staff and meet demand. However, for many, the time out of business to embark upon training is putting a further dent into profits and some simply can’t afford to lose their staff for even a day.


Having contractors built into annual staffing strategies allows for business peaks and training days. No longer just a short-term solution to cover absences due to sickness and holidays, contractors are increasingly used to fill vacancies on a long-term basis, and, throughout Scotland, there is a strong, growing contingent of experienced temporary vehicle technicians and MOT testers who are skilled and ready to fill these gaps.


This article was originally published in Scots Auto Scene, Issue 17.

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