The trucking industry’s technician shortage is improving, with fewer techs considering escaping the trade, according to a new survey from WrenchWay, an organization that helps shops find and connect with qualified technicians.
An inability to recruit and retain technicians has fueled the tech shortage for years, but between expanding enrollment at trade schools, rising technician pay, and several other factors, the industry is making headway, with WrenchWay's 2023 Voice of Technician survey finding only 49% of techs contemplated leaving the trade in 2023 compared to 79% last year.
Now, this isn’t to say that the technician shortage has been solved. According to the TechForce Foundation’s 2022 Transportation Technician Supply & Demand Report, the diesel industry is still facing a ratio of technician demand to supply of 3.8, with 41,369 spots to fill and only 11,000 technicians to fill them. Not to mention that Zippia reports that the average automotive technician age is 40 years old, and potentially on their way to retirement in the next two decades. But while the industry can't impact the silver tsunami among their workers, they can impact their current employee's job satisfaction.
According to WrenchWay’s Voice of Technician, the most common themes for diesel techs leaving the industry include stress related to pay (24%), the physical and mental demand of the work (24%), poor management (15%), the cost of tools (12%), and a lack of respect (9%).
One anonymous comment on the survey included with the report stated that: “I feel as though the pay scale will never match the amount of effort you have to put in to be a high-level technician. The hours are long and it is hard on the body, and it takes constant learning and growth to stay relevant with all of the new systems that keep coming out.”