The summary provides an in-depth look at current industry data as well as running trends based on previous survey results dating back to 1995. These trends give a crucial look at the current direction of the industry as it relates to important data points including technician age, turnover, income and more.
The survey, which is conducted every three years, is distributed electronically to more than 20,000 shop owners and managers. This year, some 630 collision repair businesses responded, representing more than 4,500 technicians.
“There is a wealth of knowledge that can be learned from this year’s survey results,” said Clark Plucinski, executive director of the Collision Repair Education Foundation. “We were fortunate that such a good cross section of our industry responded, giving information that will help all of us plan for the future.”
Highlights from the 2016 survey include:
The need for trained technicians is critical!
-The collision repair industry needs 12,000 technicians each year, or 6.2 percent of the total workforce
-Some 61.8 percent of repair facilities reported having positions that were unfilled for more than three months
-The collision industry currently needs some 50,000 employees across 40,962 collision repair shops
-Three out of five shops reported hiring at least one entry-level technician in the past year
-Of those businesses that have hired from a collision repair school program in their area, almost all would hire again
-Participation on technical school advisory committees has again increased (from 29% to 37%) over the past three years
-Expectations for collision repair skills of technical school program graduates have remained steady over the years with Prep for Paint, R&R Bolted Parts, Repair Steel Metal Dents, and Detailing still the top four tasks
The industry is growing, but the workforce is aging.
-The collision repair industry is mostly made up of independent businesses that have increased slightly in number while also increasing in average size, number of employees, and sales volume
-The largest three-year surge in the total number of technicians, from 173,200 to 187,800
-The average age of techs has risen to almost 41 years old
-Technician turnover continues to be a challenge, with 14.5 percent leaving their jobs in the last 12 months--some 8.3 percent moved to another industry job, while 6.2 percent left the trade
The collision repair industry continues to offer consistent salaries and potential for career growth.
-Average income for production technicians rose from $52,997 in 2013 to $53,857 in 2016, competitive with similar skilled trades and higher than most
-Twenty-eight percent reported earnings of $70,000 or higher, showing an attractive earning potential as a collision repair technician
-However, collision repair businesses have decreased healthcare benefits since the last survey.
For more information, visit www.collisioneducationfoundation.org.
A more detailed article on the Executive Summary of the Snapshot Survey will be available in the upcoming print editions of Autobody News.