Garages need to prioritise attracting next generation of automotive talent

A new report, ‘Automotive Survey Future Report‘ has highlighted the concerns, expectations and aspirations of young vehicle technicians aged 16-24.

The results of the survey, conducted between June and August 2023 by Autotech Academy indicate the industry urgently needs to prioritise the next generation of automotive talent. As well as highlighting the need for a more far-sighted approach by the industry.

For many years, the automotive industry has grappled with skills shortages and the challenge of attracting fresh talent. In fact, the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) says there are 160,000 vacancies in the sector that need filling by 2031.

The survey, presents a stark view of the situation. It focused on respondents across 90 colleges throughout the UK. Moreover, it found that around 42 percent of newly qualified students lack confidence in securing a well-paid job within the industry after completing their automotive course.

It did however also reveal an industry brimming with ambition. Two thirds of respondents cited their unwavering passion for all things automotive as the primary reason for choosing their career path. Over 15 percent reported they prefer the hands-on nature of the automotive industry, emphasising the value of practical skills.

Employment Opportunities

Encouragingly, almost all respondents (95 percent) expressed their desire to carve out a career in the automotive industry. And interestingly, they prioritised job enjoyment above all else when considering employment opportunities. Giving it an average rating of 4.97 out of 5.

A resounding 85 percent envision a long-term future as vehicle technicians. A dedication which signifies a commitment to the industry and a desire for career stability. However, there’s a stark discrepancy between enthusiasm and confidence in the industry’s ability to provide them with 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 percent. In an era where the automotive sector faces a severe skills shortage; this lack of confidence in competitive salaries should be seen as a red flag.

Jim Lang, Managing Director at Garage Services Online says: “Whilst it’s clear this lack of assurance among young vehicle technicians is a significant cause for concern, it’s also understandable that garages are often unwilling to consider hiring newly qualified candidates without practical experience.

“There are lots of programmes out there to help bridge that gap. But long term, it’s imperative that garages are profitable and charging the right hourly rates. It’s something I talked about with Andy Savva on episode one of Tea Break Talk and is how garages are going to be able to secure the very best technicians.”

Click here to read the full Automotive Future Survey Report and click here to subscribe to the Tea Break Talk podcast.