From compensation and benefits to training and recruitment, Autobody News has everything you need to know about beginning a career in collision repair.
Most in the collision repair industry would agree that the demand for qualified and motivated auto body technicians is extremely high. A recent report prepared by the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) and co-sponsored by the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR ) provided a snapshot of collision repair business environments and the body technicians working in them. Some of the issues addressed include compensation, benefits, training, recruitment and turnover.
“Previous surveys, conducted every three years, confirmed the need for a continual supply of qualified entry-level body technicians, while also showing changes concerning business operations and the collision repair technician workforce,” the executive summary stated. More than 630 businesses responded to the online survey, which was conducted in 2016 and represented over 4,500 body technicians.
“The auto body industry is facing the same ‘skills gap’ that skilled trades are experiencing across the United States,” said George Minehart, the senior manager of human resources for Gerber Collision & Glass. “We all have an aging workforce without enough people with the required skills entering the labor market.”
“I believe technicians in today’s collision repair industry have the greatest opportunities of all times,” said Elisabeth Sobczak, performance training coordinator for I-CAR. “There is an enormous need in the industry for highly-skilled and trained body technicians who, if they choose, can become leaders and experts as a result.”
The following is a summary of the information from the report:
Current Body Technicians
Overall, it was found that while the total number of collision repair businesses has increased slightly, the number of reapir technicians has increased significantly. “The percentage of small shops (with annual sales under $300,000) has declined significantly since 1995, while the share of large shops (over $1 million) continues to increase,” according to the report.
The largest source of hiring body technicians (49 percent) came from another body shop. The analysis of the industry showed that “just over 25 percent were hired from the non-automotive industry or as their first job, which was higher than in 2013 (20 percent)” when the survey was last conducted. More than 11 percent came from the automotive industry.
The report also showed that the average technician age has increased to almost 41 years old, rising about 13 percent since 1995. “A particular concern for this industry is the growth in the percentage of technicians over 50 years old,” according to the executive summary.