If your dealership has openings for service and body shop technicians, you're probably feeling the effects of the growing technician gap. The National Automobile Dealers Association estimates that its members face a shortage of 37,000 technicians each year through 2026.
A review of hundreds of ads on job sites Indeed and Monster shows that dealers are offering signing bonuses and all sorts of spiffs to lure technicians. Several dealers tell me they've had technician jobs open for months, underscoring the difficulty of recruiting qualified, motivated fixed ops help.
It's only natural to think that a help-wanted ad touting a big salary will attract a lot of applicants. But do you really want technicians who change jobs based on the size of the paycheck and the number of perks?
Emphasizing pay and benefits in help-wanted ads is not the best strategy, says Lee Harkins, CEO of M5 Management Services, a consulting firm that specializes in fixed operations. In fact, Harkins says, the job ads dealers post for technicians need major repairs.
Writing more effective ads will do little to solve the industrywide shortage. But if your technicians are generally happy and satisfied with the working conditions, it might help you to solve your shortage.
"The big point is to write the ad from the technician's perspective, not yours," Harkins told me. "What the technician wants is what improves his or her quality of life."
That idea meshes well with a study by the Carlisle & Co. consultancy that found about one-fourth of the 35,000 dealership technicians it surveyed plan to leave their jobs within the next few years. A much higher percentage say they are deeply dissatisfied with their jobs.
Harkins offers a list of topics that should not appear in your dealership's technician help-wanted ads: anything to do with your store's 401(k) plan, paid holidays and vacations, bonuses, pay rates and what your store's top technician earned last year.