What It Takes to Attract Young Talent Into the Industry – the Issue of Pay

What It Takes to Attract Young Talent Into the Industry – the Issue of Pay

This article was originally published on 15 June 2021

Guest blog by Andy Savva, The Garage Inspector *

As one of the independent aftermarket’s most vocal and visible figureheads, known throughout the industry as ‘The Garage Inspector,’ Andy is playing a vital role in driving awareness of Autotech Academy, and the benefits of its internship programme. In the first of his series of blogs, Andy will look at the reasons why there is a shortage of vehicle technicians, and what the industry should be doing to counteract this.

This week, Andy is discussing the issue of pay.

Andy Savva

Over the last few years, I have read countless articles and posts on social media regarding the shortage of technicians within our industry. There is certainly a shortage, and an overall declining interest in our automotive repair sector altogether. I began my career as a technician for a large BMW dealership before moving on to own and run several award-winning businesses. I have been fortunate to witness this dwindling interest from the lens of a technician, a service advisor, a service/workshop manager, and an owner/director. There are a wide variety of issues that underpin the problem of attracting new talent into the industry and are similar across almost every single automotive business. Each week, within this blog, I will focus on the top issues, starting with pay.

The general pay scales across our sector regardless of skill, position, or job title are very low. For a professional sector (and I use the word professional loosely) working and repairing high-performance machines, it is certainly a major hurdle to overcome as an entry to our sector. Technicians who are experienced will expect to earn anywhere between £26,000 to £30,000 per year (the average in the UK) if they’re lucky. In my opinion, that’s not at all enough, considering the skill and knowledge which is needed to work on these technological masterpieces, let alone the fact that techs have to continually buy their own tools. To try and put this into some perspective, my son recently graduated and has begun his career in the financial sector earning more than your experienced technician. How can that be?

Sometimes I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I constantly see motor trade jobs advertised, describing the job role which is usually 5 pages long! Then they describe what credentials the candidate should have, which again is approximately 5 pages long, they then advise you the salary is £25,000 basic and on bonus related targets you could earn £50,000.

I would love to see how many candidates actually achieve these bonuses or what metrics are used to come up with these figures. In nearly all cases, the productivity of the technician is actually out of his/her hands due to lack of efficient processes in their working environment.

If a candidate ticks most of the credentials that an employer is seeking, why not start them on £40,000 with no bonuses? I recently visited a business that struggled to attract and keep technicians. When I questioned the stakeholders about this, they explained that they only paid a certain amount for a tech (capped salary) which they weren’t prepared to increase. Well, if that’s the case you will have little chance of attracting a better pool of candidate; it’s a fool’s game.

* As non-executive director of Autotech Academy, Andy Savva will pen a regular blog highlighting the challenges of attracting and retaining youth in the automotive sector.

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