Why Are Mechanics So Hard To Find?
If you ask most Maintenance Managers or Service Managers what their biggest challenge is, most will tell you it is finding good mechanics to Hire. There is a huge shortage of good technicians in the trade, and it seems to be only getting worse.
There are a variety of reasons why we have such a shortage of mechanics but like everything, it boils down to a supply and demand issue.
Supply is down for 3 main reasons. Firstly there are fewer people enrolling in trade schools. Across Canada enrollment in Mechanic Apprenticeships went down 6% from 2013 – 2016 and this is a continuing trend going back many years. There was a real push from High Schools in the 90’s and 2000’s to get kids ready for University and the trades seemingly got ignored.
The second reason for a drop in the number of Mechanics is due to massive numbers of people retiring. It has been estimated that across North America there are 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring every day. Of course, not all of these are mechanics but some of them are and they are not being replaced fast enough.
Thirdly, getting into the trade now is harder and more expensive than ever. Vehicles are more advanced and are only progressing in their technology. There was a time when a good toolset consisted of wrenches and some other hand tools but now the Average Mechanic needs to invest $50,000 in tools just to be able to perform day to day repairs. This is a huge barrier to entry for those looking to get into the trade.
The flip side to the equation, demand, is only making the problem worse. According to Statista, there are approximately 39% more vehicles (Cars, Motorcycles, Trucks, Busses and Other Vehicles) on the road now since 1990. More vehicles require more mechanics, also when you factor in that vehicles are now more complex and there are more issues that can go wrong with them that only compounds the problem.
Unfortunately, the shortage of mechanics is not likely to be going away anytime soon. As electric vehicles gain popularity this might ease the problem as there is less maintenance required of an electric vehicle but until then make sure you treat your mechanic right and do all you can to retain them.