A new report by TechForce Foundation shows a heightened demand for vehicle technicians in the U.S. in the coming years.
The nonprofit’s report, “Transportation Technician New Entrant Demand,” is based on an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data. TechForce found that the estimated demand for new entrant vehicle technicians is much higher than previously reported. For the period between 2016 and 2026, that demand is more than triple the prior BLS estimates for the period between 2014 and 2024.
New entrant technicians are those needed to fill the growth in new positions and to replace those who leave the occupation. They are distinguished from experienced technicians who may move between employers but don’t add to the overall trained workforce in the occupation.
The TechForce report reveals that the newly projected BLS average annual new entrant demand — 75,900 auto technicians for the 2016 to 2026 period — is far greater than the previous BLS projected demand — 23,720 technicians for the 2014 to 2024 period.
Also, by extrapolating data from the economy and vehicles in use, TechForce has been able to provide annual projections that it said are more useful for industry planning than a 10-year average, which masks the cyclicality of individual years. As an example, in the case of auto technicians, the highest demand in the next five years is 92,071 in 2018, while the lowest is 65,020 in 2021, according to TechForce.
The demand for diesel technicians is similar. The newly projected BLS average annual new entrant demand of 28,300 diesel technicians far exceeds the previous projected demand of 7,690.
“BLS had underestimated the replacement component of demand — replacing existing technicians who have retired, been promoted, or decided to find a new career,” explained Greg Settle, one of the co-authors of the new report and TechForce’s director of national initiatives. “That methodological problem has been rectified with the new projections just issued by the BLS for the 2016-2026 period.”
What has exacerbated the technician shortage to the point of the “perfect storm” are essentially three things, according to Settle: “We’re caught in the middle of a strong growing economy, a ‘catch-up’ demand for technicians created by the Great Recession of 2008, and the increasing complexity of vehicles.”
TechForce’s full report is available as a free download after subscribing here.