Skills shortage exacerbated by pandemic

A new survey has found that over 80% of automotive bosses have admitted that they have found it increasingly difficult to recruit skilled staff since the pandemic, with 90% reporting that workshop and technical roles are the hardest positions to fill.

The two-month survey was commissioned by Autotech Recruit and exposed the severity of the skills shortage within the automotive aftermarket and how strategies to recruit, train and retain talent need to be implemented urgently to safeguard the future of the industry.

Ominously, over 90% of respondents believe that the challenge of recruiting skilled vehicle technicians will get worse over the next few years, with three quarters admitting that the shortages are having a negative impact on the profitability of their business.

Simon King, MD of Autotech Group, said: “The skills shortage within the automotive industry is certainly not a new problem – it’s a direct consequence of years of under investment in training and recruiting younger generations. However, Brexit and the pandemic has exacerbated the issue, which is clearly illustrated within the results of our survey.

“The motor industry has the sixth highest vacancy rate of all UK industry sectors. Particularly concerning is the fact that almost all of those surveyed (90%) reported that workshop and technical roles are the hardest positions to fill. The situation is dire and requires immediate action.”

Worryingly, just four per cent of those surveyed said their technicians were trained to Level 2 electric/hybrid vehicle standard, this despite that fact that 27% of the UK car parc will be electric by 2030.

King said: “We are not working within a stagnant market, and this highlights the need for greater training for both existing and future staff. Vehicle technologies such as ADAS will have a significant impact on the market and technicians need to hold the relevant skill set to service this breed of vehicle. Inevitably, though, it is the switch to electric/hybrid vehicles which will shape the garage of the future, and it is concerning that so many of those surveyed have yet to train their technicians.

“Training needs to be an immediate priority for the aftermarket to meet not only the zero-emission future, but growing consumer demand, particularly as electric vehicles come out of their manufacturer warranty.”