Why is it So Hard to Find Qualified Technicians?
job openings every year
unfulfilled roles by 2026
new vehicles each year
Shop owners and people in charge of hiring are all too familiar with the struggle of finding technicians. The technician shortage is not a new issue. However, it is becoming more urgent for shops to take action. In fact, by 2026, there will be an estimated 46,000 unfulfilled roles (5% of the workforce)... That’s a lot of technician job openings.Why is There a Shortage of Technicians?
- The technician workforce is aging.
The majority of technicians today are baby boomers and older gen-xers, with the average age of a technician being 45 years old. As these individuals start moving into more front-line service roles or even start to retire, there needs to be qualified technicians to fill their roles. Unfortunately, that brings us to our second issue.
- Millennials aren’t entering the trades at the same rate as baby boomers and gen-xers once did.
After the release of the Nation At Risk report in 1983, where the poor quality of education in America was exposed, there was a strong push for schools to focus on academics and make sure kids were college-ready. While the focus on academics is certainly important, we saw a decline in vocational education. As a result, less millennials got the opportunity to develop and explore an interest in the trades, and we are now seeing the impact that has had on the trade industries today.
- The vehicle population is increasing by 3 million every year.
The driving force (pun intended) behind the growing technician demand is the increasing vehicle population in the United States. More people own vehicles than ever before and people are keeping their vehicles for longer periods of time. To top it off, cars are becoming more software-driven — requiring a greater level of competency and knowledge that must be obtained through proper training and ASE certifications.
How to Recruit Technicians - The Game Has Changed
As if the increasing demand and decreasing supply wasn’t problematic enough, how shop find and recruit technicians has also changed. Shops can no longer rely on a help wanted ad in the newspaper to fill their open technician positions. Job seekers are using online tools, such as social media, job boards, and even shop websites, more than ever when looking for a new position. In fact, 79% of job applicants use social media in their job search (Glassdoor).This means if your shop is not advertising job openings in these places, technicians won’t see them and won’t apply. Shops that adapt to the changing workforce and start taking a more strategic approach with their hiring efforts now are less likely to be scrambling to find technicians later.
It’s not going to be easy, but that’s why we made this guide! In this guide, we will walk you through how you can take a more strategic approach to finding and recruiting technicians to work in your shop.
How to Attract & Hire Technicians to Work at Your Shop
You can post on all the job boards, upgrade all your listings, advertise on all the social media platforms, but whether you fill the position or not really comes down to if technicians WANT to work at your shop.
Most shops struggle with this, but it’s time to ask an honest question:
Is your shop a place that technicians want to work?
Even if you’re confident that your shop is a great place to work (and most shops are pretty darn confident), take a look below some of the ways you can make your shop a place that technicians want to work at.
In this section, we’ll cover:
- How to Write a Technician Job Description
- Technician Salary: Pay and Incentive Plans
- Employee Benefits Shops Should Consider Offering Technicians
- How to Make Your Shop Stand Out From the Competition
How to Write a Technician Job Description
Often times, the job posting is the first impression you’ll make on technicians who are looking for a new job. And if that job posting is garbage, then you’ll have a hard time attracting the technicians with the right experience and skillset you’re looking for.
What to Include in a Job Posting
Use a clear job title. Trying to give the job a “better title” will only attract the wrong applicants. Also, because job boards are keyword-based, it’s important to make sure your job titles are searchable. For example, “Automotive Technician” is more effective than “Experienced Automotive Technician.” Keep the details in the other parts of the job posting.
Include a salary range to increase the number of applicants.
A short, concise description of the position.
A bulleted list of all the day-to-day duties the individual will be responsible for.
A bulleted list of the qualifications applicants MUST have in order to be considered. Some examples include: years of experience, level of education, certifications, and specific skills or knowledge.
A list of the benefits you provide as an employer, including pay, insurance, time off, etc.
About Your Shop
While the benefits section covers the standard benefits, this section is an opportunity to share what makes your shop unique and why employees love working there.
How to Apply
Seems obvious, but be sure to provide clear instructions for how interested candidates can apply for this position
Sample - Technician Job Posting
Technician Salary: Pay and Incentive Plans
There is no getting around it — most candidates are ultimately going to base their decision on pay.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pay for an automotive technician or mechanic is $40,000/year ($19.57/hr). Of course, this number is going to vary greatly based on location, skills, and years of experience, but it does help give shops a baseline. In order to determine how much you should pay your technician, be sure you’re doing your research and finding out what other shops in the area are paying. Browse job postings on technicians job boards, google market rates, and check out competitor’s websites to see what others are paying their technicians.
Hourly vs. Flat Rate
Technicians are generally paid by the amount of work they produce (“flat rate”), or by the amount of time they work. Ultimately, the decision on how to pay technicians is up to the owner or manager. However, it can be difficult to choose the right incentive plan that drives the best performance while staying competitive in the marketplace — and all while trying not to break the bank.
Put yourself in a technician’s shoes. Many technicians fear flat rate because their income is severely affected in shops that struggle with erratic volume, parts delays, or insufficient bays. If a shop owner starts with the flat rate conversation, they severely limit the field of candidates willing to consider working for them.
When handling flat rate, it’s important to clearly describe the steady flow or heavy volume of the shop. In addition, it’s critical to have an annualized estimate of what a B tech and an A tech can make in a year with their current volume.
Employee Benefits Shops Should Consider Offering Technicians
Offering a good benefits package is key to not only recruiting great technicians, but retaining them as well. As a result, 93% of businesses are taking action to improve their benefits and perks in order to attract and retain employees.
Unfortunately, many shops avoid offering benefits because of the expense. However, in a market where the average technician has more than 20 jobs to choose from at any given moment, even the smallest shop cannot afford to avoid the issue.
Below are some of the most common benefits shops should be considering offering their technicians.
Paid Time Off
Employees need and deserve paid time off of work. It also allows them to take a break to spend time with their friends and family — without having to worry about how the bills are going to get paid.
In a recent study, health, dental, and vision insurance were identified as the most important benefit to consider when choosing a job. And with escalating healthcare costs, this should come as no surprise. Even still, according to Payscale, nearly half of technicians are not receiving any health benefits at all. This is a deal breaker for many technicians who need health benefits for themselves and their families. However, there are a variety of ways shops can offer health benefits and some are still budget-friendly.
Subsidized Family Coverage
- Cost Level: Most expensive
- Value: Excellent for recruiting and retention
- Description: Company provides subsidized insurance for both employee and dependents.
Subsidized Employee/Unsubsidized Family Coverage
- Cost Level: Expensive
- Value: Excellent for recruiting; Good for retention
- Description: Company provides subsidized medical for employees and allows dependents to purchase coverage through the plan.
Partially Subsidized Employee Coverage/Unsubsidized Family Coverage
- Cost Level: Less Expensive
- Value: Good for recruiting and retention
- Description: Company provides the coverage access and contributes a set amount towards the employee coverage. (Amount can be based on budget.)
- Cost Level: Least Expensive
- Value: Good for recruiting; less helpful for retention
- Description: Company provides the coverage access, but the cost for both employee and family is paid by the employee.
Healthcare Exchange Allowance
- Cost Level: Inexpensive
- Value: Ok for recruiting; less helpful for retention
- Description: Company provides no coverage, but offers a set amount each month towards purchase of insurance on the Healthcare Exchange.
- Cost Level: Free
- Value: Bad for recruiting and retention
- Description: Company provides no coverage and offers no assistance in obtaining coverage.
401(k) and Retirement Benefits
With a 401(k), employees are able to deposit a percentage of pre-tax dollars from each paycheck into a retirement fund — making it easy to prepare for retirement. Employers also have the option to match a certain percentage of employee contributions up to a set amount. Often times, employers will set up vesting guidelines to increase retention. Vesting guidelines limit employee access to employer contributions until the employee has worked for the company for a certain period of time.
401(k) with Regular Matching
- Cost Level: Most expensive
- Value: Excellent for recruiting and retention
- Description: Company provides a 401(k) program, including automatic payroll deductions to enable employee to save for retirement. Company matches a percentage of employee salary. (Cost includes program setup, small monthly admin charge, and matching costs.)
401(k) with No Matching
- Cost Level: Less expensive
- Value: Excellent for recruiting; good for retention
- Description: Company provides 401(k) program, including automatic payroll deductions to enable employee to save for retirement. (Costs include program setup and small monthly admin charge only.
IRA with Payroll Transfers
- Cost Level: Free
- Value: Excellent for recruiting and retention
- Description: Company partners with local bank or credit union to educate employees and enable them to set up personal IRA accounts and set their payroll to automatically deposit a percentage to that account.
- Cost Level: Free
- Value: Less helpful for recruiting and retention
- Description: Company arranges periodic visits from retirement advisor to help them setup individual accounts.
- Cost Level: Free
- Value: Bad for recruiting and retention
- Description: Company provides no retirement planning options.
How to Make Your Shop Stand Out From the Competition
The demand for technicians is high — giving them the ability to pick and choose where they want to work. This puts a lot of pressure on shop owners and management to not only offer competitive pay and benefits, but to also make sure their shop stands in other ways. Think about it this way...
If a technician is torn between working at your shop or a competitor’s — both offering comparable pay and benefits — what are you going to say that will convince them to choose you?
Perks such as offering a tool allowance or making sure the equipment in your shop is up-to-date and well-maintained is going to make your shop stand out and win over the candidate.
It’s also incredibly important to prepare your shop when a candidate is coming in for an interview. While a candidate is sitting in the waiting area before their interview, you certainly don’t want them seeing your team fight, phones going unanswered, or customers getting upset. That impression cannot be fixed one it’s made, and it can be easily avoided as long as you plan ahead and prepare your team.
Where to Advertise Job Openings
Once you've mastered the job package and job posting, it's time to start advertising your job openings. There are a number of different places shops can advertise their job openings. From job boards to social media to your shop's website — we recommend advertising job openings in multiple places to get as many eyes on your jobs as possible.
In this section, we will cover:
- Job Boards for Technician & Mechanic Job Openings
- Promoting Jobs on Social Media
- How to Create a Company Career Page on Your Website
- Creating an Employee Referral Program
Job Boards for Technician & Mechanic Job Openings
Posting positions on job sites is a great way to get more eyes on your technician and mechanic job openings. Job boards are the number one channel job seekers use when looking for a new position.
However, with thousands of job sites out there — not to mention limited time and resources — it can be hard for shop owners and people in charge of hiring to know which job boards to post on.
Below is a list of the job boards we recommend shops post their mechanic job openings on. The following job sites span from high traffic volume to finely targeted in the automotive industry — the combination of which gives you the best chance of attracting the candidates you want.
9 Job Boards For Shops Hiring Mechanics
With an estimated 250 million daily website visitors, Indeed is the #1 job site in the world. Spanning across all industries, Indeed estimates that 10 jobs are posted every minute on their site.
ZipRecruiter has over 7 million active job seekers each month and is the #1 job search app on Android and iOs. With a ZipRecruiter subscription, you can post a job on ZipRecruiter, and it will get pushed to 100 different job boards.
|Find A Wrench
The Find A Wrench job board helps connect techs with dealerships and shops across the country in a number of industries, including: automotive, heavy equipment, and diesel.
CareerBuilder is one of the largest job boards. Like ZipRecruiter, CareerBuilder is a monthly subscription that employers can sign up for to post their jobs openings.
Glassdoor is another large job board that attracts 67 million monthly visitors. What makes Glassdoor unique is its focus on employee reviews, which gives job seekers an inside look at company culture.
|Google for Jobs
Google for Jobs is a search engine for job postings — pulling in listings from various sources. What's great about Google for Jobs is instead of visiting a job site, users simply type a job in the Google search bar, and Google for Jobs brings up listings in the search results.
Facebook has over one billion active users and is growing exponentially. As job seekers start using social media more to research potential employers, it becomes more important for shops to include job openings on their Facebook pages.
Just like Facebook, job seekers are relying on LinkedIn more during their job search. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking site, making it the perfect place to advertise job openings.
Monster was one of the first job boards online, and still remains a go-to resource for job seekers. Monster is great for one time job postings, as they don’t require a subscription.
Promoting Jobs on Social Media
With close to half of the world’s population on social media, there's no question on the importance of your shop's social media presence. Many shops are already interacting with their customers on sites like Facebook and Twitter, but few are taking advantage of the huge opportunity to market themselves to job seekers.
More job seekers are now turning to social media even over job boards when looking for a new position. In fact, Aberdeen Group recently found that 73% of millennials found their last position on a social media platform.
Let's take a look at how your shop can advertise job openings on two key social media sites: Facebook and LinkedIn.
How to Advertise Job Openings on Facebook
There are a few different ways you can advertise job openings on your shop’s Facebook page.
Write a Facebook Post
The most obvious, and easiest way to advertise job openings on Facebook is by creating a Facebook post. Keep it short and sweet, and be sure to include a link to your job posting or career page (more on creating a career page below!) for people who want to learn more.
Add a Jobs Tab to Your Facebook Page
Another great way to advertise job openings on Facebook is by adding a jobs tab to your Facebook page. This is a great option for shops that have multiple openings or are hiring regularly throughout the year.
How to Add Jobs Tab to Facebook Page
- From your company's Facebook page, go to Settings.
- Select Templates and Tabs from the left navigation menu.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page, and select Add a Tab.
- Next to Jobs, select Add Tab.
- Once you close out of the window, you will see the Jobs tab has been added to your template.
- If you click on Settings next to the Jobs tab, you have the ability to turn the tab on and off, and be able to get a link directly to the Jobs tab.
How to Add Jobs to Your Facebook Jobs Tab
- From your company's Facebook page, select the Jobs tab.
- Select the green Create Job button.
- Add in all the information about your job opening, including:
- Email address for applications
- Job title
- Job location
- Salary range (optional)
- Job type (i.e., Full-Time, Part-Time, etc.)
- Job description
- Applicant questions (optional)
- Photo (optional)
- Once you’ve added in all the required information, select Post Job.
Boost Jobs to Reach a Larger Audience
When creating a job post, Facebook also gives you the option to "Boost" or promote your job to a larger audience on Facebook. This is a great option for shops that are looking to fill a role quickly or for shops who need a master tech or tech with specific certifications or experience.
How to Boost a Job on Facebook
- If you are creating a new job, follow the steps above and once you've finished entering in all the required information, select Boost Job.
- If you want to boost an existing job, navigate to the job post under the Jobs tab and select Boost Job.
- Type in the Location you want to advertise your job opening in. Once you select a city or region, you can modify the radius to specify how far outside the city/region you want to advertise.
- Next, select either the number of days you want to advertise the job opening for or select a date from the calendar.
- Enter in your Total Budget.
- Once your budget has been met, your job ad will stop running.
- Enter in your Payment information and select Set Budget.
Post Jobs in Facebook Groups
A great place to post job openings on Facebook is within Facebook groups. It requires a little work upfront to find, identify, and join the Facebook groups where it makes sense to post your jobs. However, once you join, you can post to the groups regularly.
How to Find Groups on Facebook
- Once you're logged into Facebook, use the search bar to look for a group that might be relevant to your industry and area (i.e., "Philadelphia automotive jobs," etc.)
- Select Groups to limit your results to only groups (versus people, pages, etc.).
- Click on any of the search results to learn more about the group.
- Once you've identified a group you'd like to post to, click + Join to request to join the group.
- You will receive a notification once your request to join has been approved, and you can then post jobs to the group.
How to Advertise Job Openings on LinkedIn
There are a few different ways you can advertise job openings on your shop's LinkedIn page.
Write a LinkedIn Post
Just like with Facebook, the easiest way to advertise your shop's job openings on LinkedIn is by creating a LinkedIn post. Again, it's best practice to keep your post short and to the point, with a link for interested applicants to learn more.
Create a Career Page on LinkedIn
For shops that have a number of job openings or are hiring continuously throughout the year, a Career page can be a great extension of your company’s LinkedIn page. The Career page gives you additional tabs on your LinkedIn page, such as Jobs and What We Do, allowing you to add new sections to better showcase what it’s like to work at your company.
Career pages are a paid feature of LinkedIn, and to purchase one you need to contact a LinkedIn representative.
How to Post a Job on LinkedIn
Posting a job on LinkedIn is a paid feature, much like Facebook's Boost feature. It allows you to reach a larger audience on LinkedIn, and is a great option if you want to hire a highly skilled tech or need to fill a position quickly.
How to Post a Job on LinkedIn
- From your company's LinkedIn page, select Admin Tools > Post a Job.
- Enter the following information and select Start job post:
- Company name
- Job title
- Fill in the following details of the job and select Continue:
- Job function
- Employment type
- Company industry
- Seniority level
- Job description
- Skill keywords (optional)
- How you'd like to receive applications
- Add in additional screening questions (optional), and select Continue.
- Set your Daily Budget, and choose if you want your job posting to end when you close it or when you reach your total budget. Then, select Proceed to Checkout.
- Enter your payment information and select Post job.
How to Create a Company Career Page on Your Website
Job boards and social media are great for attracting applicants, but many shops are missing an opportunity to further engage candidates with a career pages on their website.
A career page is a great way to showcase what it’s like to work at your shop, and why your employees love working there. In addition to listing all your job openings and details on how to apply, you can also highlight company perks, share photos of your shop, and give candidates a feel for your shop’s culture.
Career Page Examples
Why We Love It: DriveTime’s career page utilizes video to give job seekers a visual of what it’s like to work for their company. In their videos, DriveTime talks about the benefits of working at their company including everything that makes them a unique employer. Potential applicants get a look around their office, hear from the CEO, and hear testimonials from multiple employees sharing what they love about working for the company. DriveTime also makes it easy to search for jobs on their website, and visitors can even sign up for job alert emails.
Why we love it: Tesla keeps their career page simple and focused. Their career page opens with their mission statement and key products. They have a short looping video and photos that give job seekers an inside look at what it’s like to work at Tesla. In addition, their job listings are easy to navigate, allowing visitors to filter jobs and apply directly on their website.
Why we love it: PayScale’s career page gives job seekers all the reasons (including fluffy, four-legged reasons) to want to work for them. The employee photos and quotes really capture the personality of the company. They also do a great job of listing out all company benefits.
Creating an Employee Referral Program
Employee referral programs have become a popular recruiting strategy for companies, and for good reason. According to CareerBuilder,
82% of employers rate employee referrals above all other sources of generating the best return on investment.
Employee referral programs encourage current employees with rewards to refer candidates for job openings. Implementing a referral program is a great way to improve on time and cost of hire.
Implementing an employee referral program doesn’t need to require a ton of staff, effort, and budget. We'll walk through some of the basics of setting up a program for your shop.
However, if you're interested in a comprehensive guide to setting up an employee referral program, we'd recommend checking out TalentLyst's Guide for Setting Up an Employee Referral Program.
How to Create a Simple Employee Referral Program
- Tell your employees how they can help.
This can be as simple as having employees share job openings on their personal social media accounts, or asking if they know anyone who would be a good fit for job openings.
- Offer incentives for referral hires.
Many companies offer a cash incentive when they hire someone who is referred by another employee. You could even offer an additional cash incentive once the new hire has been with the company for a certain period of time.
- Promote. Promote. Promote.
Employee referral programs are not "set it and forget it" thing. You should be sending periodic reminders to your employees — especially when you're hiring for multiple positions.
Technician Recruitment: Hiring a Recruiting Company
Finding and recruiting top talent is a challenge in any industry, and the automotive industry is no exception. With the scarcity in the marketplace, the majority of qualified techs are already employed — making it imperative for shop owners and managers to be recruiting passive candidates.
Passive candidates are candidates that are already employed and not actively looking for a new job. Passive candidates account for 73% of the workforce, and 99% of HR teams report passive candidates as being an important source of hiring.
Passive recruiting is a much more proactive approach to hiring that requires a great deal of time and resources in order to find great techs. And, quite frankly, it's a lot of time and resources that shop owners and managers just do not have — which is exactly why more shops and dealerships are outsourcing their hiring needs to recruiting companies.
In this section, we will cover:
- Benefits of Working With a Recruiter
- How to Choose a Recruiter
- How Much Does a Recruiter Cost?
Benefits of Working With a Recruiter
Working with a recruiting company offers shops a number of benefits:
- Save time.
The biggest benefit is obviously how much time you will save by outsourcing your recruiting efforts. As we mentioned, there's a lot of time-consuming work that goes into finding qualified techs. Recruiting companies take all that work off your shoulders, so you can focus on running your shop.
- Get access to more (and better) candidates.
Automotive recruiters already have an established pipeline of qualified techs they're working with to find suitable placements. When you work with a recruiting company, they will get your job in front of all the techs they know in your area that meet your job requirements.
- They're experts in recruiting.
Your expertise as a shop owner or manager is not recruiting. The recruiting game is changing, and it takes a professional to keep up with the trends in the marketplace. You wouldn't hire an electrician to fix your plumbing, right?
- Keep hiring professional and organized.
Most shops don’t have in-house recruiters to manage the hiring process. It's incredibly important to represent your shop in a professional, organized way to attract the right candidates. Recruiting companies ensure the hiring process goes smoothly from start to finish — leaving every candidate with a great impression of your shop.
How to Choose a Recruiter
Choosing a recruiter can be a little intimidating. After all, there are approximately 20,000 staffing and recruiting companies in the U.S. So, how do you determine the best recruiting company to hire for your shop or dealership?
We've outlined a few tips below to help get you started.
Tips For Shops & Dealerships Who Want to Hire a Recruiter
- Determine your needs.
The first step in hiring a recruiting company is to determine what your hiring needs are. Some questions to consider:
- How many people do you need to hire? Full-time, part-time, or seasonal?
- How many years of experience does the candidate need to have?
- Do they need to have specific certifications or skills?
- Are you willing to pay for relocation for the right candidate?
- Narrow down your search to recruiting companies who specialize in hiring for your industry.
Looking for an automotive tech? Diesel tech? Whatever your needs are, make sure the company you hire has experience recruiting for that specific position. They'll have a better understanding of your ideal candidate and know where to find them and how to recruit them.
- Ask recruiting companies if they've had success recruiting for this position in your area.
A recruiting company can have all the experience in the world recruiting for automotive techs in Chicago, but if they've tried to recruit in your area and haven't been able to make a successful placement, they might not be the right recruiting company for you.
- Request client references.
Once you think you've found the right recruiting company, you can always ask for a client reference for peace of mind. Any good recruiting company will be happy to put you in touch with one of their clients.
- Make sure you have visibility into their recruiting efforts.
Of course, qualified candidates are what you want to get out of hiring a recruiter. But, it's also important to have visibility into what work your recruiter is putting into finding those candidates:
- Are they posting on job boards? How often?
- Are they texting and calling candidates?
- Are they posting on social media?
- How many applicants have come in that they rejected?
How Much Does a Recruiter Cost?
Shop owners and managers in charge of hiring know how difficult it can be to find qualified techs in their area, and the effects of having that position vacant for too long can be detrimental to their business.
After a few unsuccessful weeks of posting on job boards, shop owners and managers will often look for an outsider recruiter. The biggest question they have, of course, is, how much will it cost me?
While placement fees will vary, shops can expect to pay between 10-25% of the employee’s first-year wages. With that in mind, it’s important for shops to also understand how recruiters charge for their services.
Recruiter Fee Structures
The recruiter doesn't get paid until a candidate is placed. If your shop doesn't go with a candidate found by your recruiter, then the recruiter doesn't get paid for their services. This is the most common structure you'll see at recruiting companies.
The recruiter gets back upfront before they start looking for candidates. Retainers are more prevalent with higher level executive searches.
The recruiter gets paid part of their fee up front, and the remaining part of their fee after a candidate is placed.
The recruiter works at an agreed upon hourly rate. Freelancers are often contracted for 3-6 months to help companies catch up on filling open positions.
Cost Per Hire = (External Costs + Internal Costs) / Total Number of Hires
Internal Costs: In-house staff, systems (i.e., ATS, etc.), referral rewards, relocation costs, sign-on bonuses
External Costs: Recruiting company, job boards, background checks, testing services