Shortage of technicians sends troubling wave through auto repair - KCTV5

Shortage of technicians sends troubling wave through auto repair industry

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The predicted technician shortfall over the next five years is about 25,000. (KCTV5) The predicted technician shortfall over the next five years is about 25,000. (KCTV5)
GLADSTONE, MO (KCTV) -

Anyone who has ever had car troubles knows the wait to get a car fixed can be frustrating, and now, that wait could soon get worse.

A recent trend is leaving auto shops with a troubling shortage of technicians. If the trend continues, which it likely will, a problem that may take hours or even days to fix, could soon turn into weeks or months.

It’s thanks, in part, to the advancement of technology in vehicles.

The industry was once booming with applicants, but when David Horrocks opened B&H Automotive in the Northland, he turned away people looking for a job. That was before computerization of cars, and before schools phased out vocational programs.

Now, the job requires the skill level of an engineer to make repairs. But those qualified aren’t drawn to the career.

“The pay hasn’t gone up like it should with the advancement of the vehicles,” Horrocks said.

The average pay is just under $20 an hour, and workers often have to buy their own tools.

Horrocks calls the shortage critical. He says unless the salaries rise and applicants start pouring in, wait times and repair costs will rise instead.

Right now, people who total their vehicle could have to wait three to four months for it to be fixed.

Horrocks only technician is his son who has built a successful career and is now in charge of hiring, which has been tough.

“We’re having a hard time finding anyone who is qualified,” Horrocks said.

It’s a trend seen nationwide. BMW has even begun a recruiting program, heading to schools and career fairs. They hope something changes before they have to close their doors.

The predicted technician shortfall over the next five years is about 25,000.

To put the issue into perspective, Ford and General Motors alone say they will need about 15,000 new technicians in that same time. 

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