A stunning 81 percent of shops would hire one or more technicians if they walked into their shop looking for a position, according to the most recent “Who Pays for What?” survey by CRASH Network and Collision Advice. The survey asked, “If one or more qualified technicians applied for a job at this location today, how many would you likely hire?” More than one in four (29 percent) said they would hire two.
When asked about specific job positions, half of the shops responding (51 percent) said they currently have a need for at least one body technician, and almost one-third (31 percent) said they have an unfilled body helper position. Of the 17 different job categories the survey asked shops about, body technicians and body helpers were the two most in-demand by shops that said they were not fully staffed.
Rounding out the top five most in-demand job positions were detailers, needed by 22 percent of shops, and front office estimators and painter’s helpers, both positions cited by 19 percent of shops. Lowest in demand in terms of production positions was a structural or frame technician, currently needed by just 11 percent of shops.
Only 21 percent of shops responding to the “Who Pays?” survey in April said they were fully staffed and had no job openings for any position. Last October, 37 percent said they were fully staffed.
The percentages from the April survey may be higher now, as demand for collision work started to ramp up through the second quarter as vaccines became more widely available and driving began to increase.
A quick search for “collision repair technician” on the job listing website Indeed.com shows that 1,198 openings matching that search have been listed in just the prior 7 days. In total, there are 7,046 job openings matching that search, and there is no shortage of openings that are advertising a sign-on bonus right in the job listing.
The “Who Pays for What?” survey found that 12 percent of shops said they had paid a hiring bonus to a new technician within the past 12 months. Over half of those bonuses (56 percent) were for less than $2,000, but a quarter of them (26 percent) were for $3,000 or more.
“I see restaurants with banners offering $1,000 signing bonuses for line-cooks,” one West Coast shop owner said. “I think that’s what has techs asking for that or more to come to work for us.”
Perhaps making the market even more competitive for shops looking to find an experienced technician are job openings outside of shops – such as with remote diagnostic and calibration companies – that require a body technician’s skill set but that don’t involve actual body work. Those jobs didn’t even exist 15 years ago.
Download past “Who Pays for What?” survey results
Collision repair technician jobs on indeed.com
Data from the second-quarter “Who Pays for What?” survey from Collision Advice and CRASH Network shows how many technicians shops would hire immediately, the percentage of shops with specific job openings, and the dollar amount of signing bonuses some shops have paid to attract new technicians. (Provided by Collision Advice and CRASH Network)