TechForce Foundation reports that the supply of new entrant technicians from automotive post-secondary education programs in the U.S. dropped 11.8%, to 28,866, in 2021, widening current and projected shortfalls of professionals needed to service the nation’s automotive fleet, according to its 2022 Transportation Technician Supply & Demand Report. The supply of program graduates (completions) slipped 2.6% and 0.4%, respectively, in the diesel and collision repair segments but has fallen by a combined 17% over the past five years.
The worsening technician supply picture – with combined completions dropping from 48,208 in 2020 to 44,052 in 2021, overshadows a strong year-over-year rebound in technician employment in the automotive (+4.2%) and diesel (+6.5%) repair segments, according to TechForce. Total employment of collision repair technicians dropped 0.7% percent, however, continuing a six-year decline.
TechForce says it estimates demand for new entrant automotive/diesel/collision repair technicians – for new positions, replacements for occupational separations and unfilled positions from prior years – will reach 232,000 in 2022 and total well over 900,000 through 2026.
For the first time, the annual report also includes labor data for the U.S. aviation industry, which currently employs more than 150,000 technicians who maintain and repair aviation and avionics equipment and systems. TechForce projects nearly 78,000 new entrant technicians will be needed to fill these roles between 2022 and 2026.
“This year’s report underscores not only the challenges we face in attracting, training and retaining technicians but also the boundless opportunities for talented young people to build successful, rewarding careers in one of the world’s most dynamic and technology-intensive industries,” said TechForce Foundation CEO Jennifer Maher. “The solution to this crisis lies in industry, nonprofit, education and government partners working together to build awareness, curiosity and interest in these careers among our youth.”