Growing Competency Gap

Bill Technician Rosetown, Saskatchewan Posted   Latest  

I would like to hear opinions on the growing competency gap. Is it growing? If so, why? What can be done about it?

I will share my opinion. I do not feel individuals coming into the industry are any less qualified than they were 20 years ago. I do feel there is a smaller pool to choose from.

I feel that complexity and technology are the biggest contributors to this new gap. It seems to me that there is more available training in one form or another than there has ever been. From my perspective the competency of current technicians is at a higher level than it was 20 years ago, but the gap has increased.

I feel in my gut the only way to effectively close the gap would be taking smaller bites. Have techs focused on doing less things better. In a perfect world we would all be geniuses. We would be able to do anything perfectly and efficiently, but this is not a perfect world. I am not sure what business model would accomplish this task exactly. It would vary depending on the market, but thats my take.

I appreciate any thoughts and feedback.

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael Default
 

Bill, I think you answered your own questions. Here are a few observations to consider. There is a stigma attached to all of us in the auto repair industry. I suppose because our hands and clothes get dirty we must be second rate workers. This has gone on since I remember. Back in the 1980s I was in College to become an Automotive Engineer. The professors made us feel like if we could not hack…

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Bill Technician
Rosetown, Saskatchewan
Bill Default
 

"Having techs that are specialized in certain areas would help each of your techs become more adept. The challenge is compensating each fairly" Michael, I believe specialization is the answer to compensation as well. Income increases as a shop increases their overall proficiencies. Expenses decrease due to reduced training, subscription, lost time and tooling. There is so much room for…

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Robert Diagnostician
Trevose, Pennsylvania
Robert Default
 

I believe the lack of pay and benefits is a result of aging shop owners that still think they are hiring grease monkeys to work on Ford Falcons and not what is essentially a robot that you can ride in. It isn’t helped by the amount of aging techs that think the same way. I have spent many evenings at classes with lots of shop owners and very few techs. Usually the shop owners spend most of…

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Michael Owner/Technician
Montague, New Jersey
Michael Default
 

I'm curious Robert, where do you go to class location wise? I own my shop after 30 + years as a technician in Montague NJ just over the border from Milford PA. I attend classes in Scranton via ATG, Mahopac NY via TST, and various locations via Worldpac including Allentown PA and Maryland. Personally i wouldn't waste my time going to class if I didn't see a benefit, nor would I send techs to…

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Robert Diagnostician
Trevose, Pennsylvania
Robert Default
   

Sorry. You caught me in the middle of a rant. I know many shop owners and managers that work far longer hours than the employees. The classes in question no longer exist. I have no problem with the instructors and the minority of attendees were who I was describing. Most of the classes and seminars I attend are not what I was going on about. I would maintain the average tech and shop owner still…

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Christopher Technician
San Antonio, Texas
Christopher Default
   

I have a hard time believing that people entering the industry today aren't less qualified than people who grew up when things like electronics repair shops and Radio Shacks were still around. Being able to use the latest technology isn't the same as knowing how it works, and it's been my experience that the newest entrants to the business have less of that understanding than 20yrs ago. The…

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Bill Technician
Rosetown, Saskatchewan
Bill Default
 

Christopher, As far as the wage goes... The shop either needs to charge more or continue to increase efficiency to pay well. I feel independents will not be able to compete if they raise their rates to where they need to be to pay well, if they keep tackling all makes. Especially if they are paying and training new techs that have to know everything.

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Michael Owner/Technician
Montague, New Jersey
Michael Default
 

I personally see far less Professionalism and Team Spirit in this industry than ever before. As far as overall competency goes, it seems to go hand in hand at least to an extent.

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Samuel Technician
Somers Point, New Jersey
Samuel Default
   

Love this topic!!! Hopefully I do not sway to far off course. Everyone is nailing down the "correct" answers. Somewhat repetitive, however, we ALL have our place. To think that we can train everyone and they all will be top Diagnosticians is not realistic. To think that all top Diagnosticians can slam out handfuls of Timing Belts and Chains each weak and NOT lose money, is not realistic. I…

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John Owner
Huntington Beach, California
John Default
 

I'm in the middle of my 48th business year and this is one of my favorite challenges; talent development at all levels in our auto profession.. So far every part of this thread is valid and I agree that we all in the profession have a role to play to prepare and provide for the future of the trade. There will always be lucrative roles to fill for those who are willing to learn and…

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael Default
 

HI John, Your idea of a society or CO-OP that develops technicians is a great idea. Anything designed to attract new talent has to be more than smoke and mirrors. There would have to be a set of clearly stated standards that each member would have to adhere to. The owners involved would have to be held accountable as well as apprentices and technicians. There would need to be paths that lead…

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Justin Mobile Technician
Herriman, Utah
Justin Default
 

If I tech isn’t allowed to move out of the flat rate production box as he ages, this isn’t a career is it? So basically it ends up being a sacrifice of a mans physical body until it breaks. You and I both feel the age pains that come with years of being productive. Throwing techs away because they don’t meet the production of the young tech they once were is the number one reason I won’t…

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Michael Technician
Amherst, Massachusetts
Michael Default
 

Well said Justin !

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John Educator
Toronto, Ontario
John Default
 

Hi Bill, great discussion topic. It's been my observation with over 30 years as a tech., that there are a few contributing factors to "the gap". In my opinion the main one is an overall problem with this industry. This is an industry that does not particularly care about the technicians diagnostic knowledge and abilities, but is only concerned with "how many parts can you replace and how fast…

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Michael Technician
Amherst, Massachusetts
Michael Default
 

Hello John Post, I too was belittled for wanting to use my labscope and things I learned in training that I paid for myself. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

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