Is It Just Me? Are you struggling to find Technicians?

Posted 17/10/2018 : By: Leigh Purling

Struggling to find a Technician??....

 

Is it just me? Have I done something wrong? Why doesn’t anyone want to work for me?!?

 

If you have found yourself asking these questions, then you aren’t alone! You are amongst several of our Clients running established and successful service centres up and down the country trying to find a Technician. And it’s not just the independents and specialists that are finding it tough, the franchised main dealers are struggling too!

When I first started working in the motor trade (eighteen years ago but I’m whispering that bit, so I don’t feel too old) technicians ... or mechanics as we used to call them, were typically under paid and under-valued. Therefore, I find it quite satisfying to see the pay gap between a sales person and a skilled car technician closing.

When I was at school, looking back to that sole hour with the careers advisor where they run a report based on what you do and don’t like doing and what you are good at to tell you which careers you should consider… I can’t remember a single one of my classmates coming out of there “buzzing to join the motor trade” so fast forward to 2018, Technicians have left the industry in their droves over the past few years, fuelled by the recession and lured by high salaries working off shore and suchlike then  to top it off the industry has done little to attract school leavers so here we are.. essentially a country mile short of skilled and experienced vehicles.

So, this brings me to the here and now, hiring managers are finding trying to attract and retain staff a constant nightmare! Just as you think you’ve found someone they’ve been counter offered by someone for 50p an hour or an extra day’s holiday. It’s hard not to start taking it to heart. “Have I done something wrong?”, “Does my company have a bad reputation?”, “Am I not paying enough?”, “Or am I just looking for the impossible?”

We are being asked “What can we do to attract candidates”. Whilst there are plenty of things that can be done, and money is always one of them, it’s not always an option and not always the best one. A common perception of the franchised main dealer groups is that they can afford to pay higher salaries, but their hands are often tied because salaries are banded across the group dependent on level. Follow that through to the independent dealer who may have the say over whether they pay the extra two pound an hour, but it isn’t always viable.

So, as an independent dealer without a glitzy shining branded logo above the door, what can you do? My advice… Be transparent. Tell them what you can offer. Do you put them through training to keep up to date with the latest diagnostic equipment? Do you take them all out for a drink at the end of a busy week? Will you give them an hour off for their daughters’ school nativity play?... We have seen an increase in benefits packages, company’s cars and fuel cards but whittle it down to what’s important and generally a work life balance is right up there among pay and location.

Today when both parents are often working, a bit of flexibility and an appreciation that they may be working around childcare or appointments will go a long way. Stay true to who you are, don’t over promise but be up front. If you are a family run service centre that run a workshop based on trust and a bit of give and take, then tell the applicant this... you might just be surprised how far this will get you!