Technician Shortage: Who Will Service The Trucks?
Amidst the massive and well-known driver shortage in the trucking industry, another issue that receives far less attention but also needs to be addressed: the technician shortage. While drivers are obviously the face of the industry, skilled technicians are necessary to service the fleet and keep it in good condition, ensuring that drivers aren’t forced to use unsafe trucks and endanger both themselves and other motorists.
Why Are Technicians Important?
Quite simply, trucker safety depends on the work of skilled technicians. Without an adequate roster of skilled technicians, the fleet is going to degrade and eventually become unsafe. In short, the current technician shortage is threatening to have dangerous effects.
Why the Technician Shortage?
According to the Technology and Maintenance Council, the origin of the technician shortage lies in the trucking industry itself. According to the Council, the industry hasn’t done enough to engage students and technical schools. Millennials who bemoan the lack of good-paying positions and politicians who comment on the absence of blue-collar jobs clearly aren’t aware of the opportunities that technician training offers. The younger generation of millennials is hungry for meaningful, good-paying jobs, especially since many of them are saddled with student loan debt. While it is unlikely that many of them have considered being a technician before, exposure to the industry often piques their interest and opens their eyes to the opportunities that await them.
What Can Be Done?
Experts agree that widespread change needs to be made in technician recruiting among the newer millennial generation and that a wider net needs to be cast in search of talent. They also say that employers need to understand the motivations of millennials better. Without babying new employees, they say that it is necessary to make millennials feel valued and an important part of the workforce. One other thing that experts suggest and that many companies have already implemented is providing new technicians with assistance in acquiring new tools. Even a beginner set of tools can cost nearly $5,000 – money that millennials often don’t have. In order to address the technician shortage, they suggest that technician training programs provide a beginner set of tools.
While no magical silver bullet will address the issue, a variety of things can be done to handle the technician shortage and continue to keep unsafe trucks and other vehicles off of the road. If the younger generation of millennials is to be engaged, some changes will need to be made. Trucker safety is paramount, and bolstering a roster of skilled technicians is necessary to mitigate the risks of putting truckers and other motorists in unsafe vehicles.