The Answer to the Technician Shortage

March 18, 2024
Though there are many factors contributing to the technician shortage, one way the automotive industry can begin to rebuild its staff is through diversity.

According to an industry report from FenderBender’s sibling brand, Ratchet + Wrench, the technician shortage remains a difficult obstacle for 68 percent of shop owners. Though there are many factors contributing to the technician shortage, one way the automotive industry can begin to rebuild its staff is through diversity. 

Only 12.3 percent of automotive repair and maintenance workers are female, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Though this number continues to increase every year, there is still much untapped potential, and unfortunately, women are still more deterred than encouraged to join this industry. 

One of the main reasons women tend to steer clear of becoming automotive technicians is due to the industry’s image. In a panel held at AAPEX, Kim Auernheimer, co-owner/business manager at CS Automotive, spoke about how many people see technicians as “uneducated,” when actually the opposite is true. 

This image also prevents parents from seeing automotive technician as a good profession for their daughters. Another of the panelists, Jill Trotta, vice president/GM of industry, sales, and certification at RepairPal, recalled how her father reacted to her wanting to become a technician. He listed many reasons — she wouldn’t be accepted, she could get hurt, it was a non-inclusive environment, etc. — in an attempt to dissuade her. 

Though the industry image doesn’t deter all women, it’s evident to the women who do enter the industry that all is not fair between male and female technicians. For Nissan Master Technician Nelly Colon, she notes issues she’s had with customers not believing she’s a capable technician, as well as other issues like not having a properly fitting uniform due to women’s sizes not being available. An ill-fitting uniform can be hazardous for technicians as the extra fabric can get caught in repairs they’re doing. 

About the Author

Emily Markham | Editor | PTEN and Professional Distributor

Emily Markham is the editor of  Professional Tool & Equipment News (PTEN) and Professional Distributor magazines. These publications are part of the Endeavor Business Media Vehicle Repair Group.

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