Needed: More Automotive Technicians

Despite unemployment rates that have reached highs not seen since the ’80s, some industries are still hiring. With new-car sales dropping, qualified automotive maintenance and repair industry workers are in high demand.

Why? Americans are choosing not to buy new vehicles but, instead, are driving their old ones longer. “Consumers are maintaining their vehicles longer than in the past,” says a study conducted by R.L. Polk & Co. “The average length of time that owners held onto a new car or truck in 2008 was more than four and a half years (56.3 months).”

As vehicles age, they need preventative maintenance and repairs, creating more business for automotive repair shops. To meet this demand, Bridgestone Retail Operations, LLC, which owns and operates automotive service providers like Firestone Complete Auto Care, opened 42 new stores in 2008 and plans to continue to open new stores throughout 2009. Each new store creates about 12 jobs.

As the need for automotive maintenance and repair grows, the need for qualified employees increases. Managers, sales team members, tire specialists and technicians are all necessary to run a successful automotive service center. Many large-scale employers offer competitive benefits and on-the-job training.

Today’s automotive service centers are nothing like the repair shops of the past. Within the last decade, vehicles have become so technologically advanced that the average car owner can no longer do his or her own maintenance. As a result, repair shops have also made drastic changes.

Automotive technicians need to be able to identify and diagnose automotive problems quickly and accurately and be technologically savvy. Job seekers with an interest in technology and problem-solving might find lucrative careers in automotive service. Automotive repair shops need sales professionals, managers and technicians.