Worker Shortage Appears in Top Industry Issues Report for 2017
For the first time, the shortage of diesel technicians appeared in The American Transportation Research Institute’s 2017 report of “Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry”. As it ranked outside the top ten concerns reported by survey respondants (13th), it was categorized as an “emerging issue”. Also in this category, and appearing in the list for the first time was the issue of autonomous vehicles.
Driver shortage was the number-one concern among respondants, and is typically a top-five concern in each annual report.
The increased demand for technicians has been linked to ever-advancing technology in today’s trucks, requiring more frequent and more complex maintenance. At the same time, young people are not filling the jobs left by retiring mechanics.
One example, Penske is currently looking to grow its truck maintenance workforce by 2,000 positions in 2018. Nationwide, diesel technician jobs are expected to grow by 10 percent from 2016 to 2026.
While there is no shortage in positions or pay, there is concern among those in the industry that younger members of the workforce are looking elsewhere to begin careers. Employers say they must battle negative stereotypes of truck and auto mechanics to attract young members of the workforce, and have also moved to train women mechanics, typically underrepresented in the industry.