Autotech Recruit, operators of the UK’s largest network of temporary vehicle technicians and MOT testers, has announced the results of its comprehensive annual recruitment survey detailing hiring challenges, staffing needs, and recruitment strategies within the UK automotive industry for the upcoming year.

Shedding a light on the critical insights that will shape recruitment strategies and workforce planning for the foreseeable future, the survey reveals widespread difficulty filling vehicle technician roles and the detrimental impact the skills shortage is having on profitability.

Almost 70% cited recruiting vehicle technicians as one of the most difficult roles to fill with over 65% admitting that sourcing specialist Hybrid/EV trained technicians is challenging.

The situation is set to be exacerbated with half of all respondents (50%) anticipating an increase in vehicle technician vacancies over the next year, highlighting the ever-growing need for skilled automotive professionals.

While three-quarters of respondents (71%) plan to recruit for permanent roles, an encouraging 73% are actively seeking routes to attract young talent – through apprenticeships and paid internships – to address the skill gaps within their businesses.

Raising the salary bar

The survey highlighted an interesting trend in wage adjustments with 95% of respondents reported offering salary increases last year, with approximately 6 in 10 of these exceeding the rate of inflation.  Furthermore, 76% anticipate raises in line with or exceeding inflation in 2024.

To retain staff, 53% of respondents are prioritising training, with electric/hybrid vehicle training identified as the top priority for over 71% of respondents in the coming year.

The survey, which saw responses from over 100 automotive industry professionals, looks at the challenges impacting automotive businesses and found an inability to meet demand (52%) and a reluctance to maximise profitability due to skills gaps (56%) as a common theme.

While a focus on permanent recruitment remains paramount for most, bringing in temporary vehicle technician labour is seen as a valuable resourcing tool with almost half of respondents (49%) citing general skill shortages as the primary factor driving the usage of contractors. Additionally, demand peaks (16%) were identified as an important consideration for leveraging temporary labour.

James Mackay, Managing Director of Autotech Recruit comments: “Our survey highlights that the skills shortage within the industry is still prevalent and the impact this is having on businesses, along with plans to address the challenge. Encouragingly, there is a growing recognition of the need to invest in salary and training, but it is important to remember that no company can resolve these issues alone. Stakeholders from across the industry – including employers, educational providers,

recruitment specialists and industry interest organisations need to work cohesively to make a real difference.”

“Our business was founded on our network of temporary vehicle technicians and MOT testers and, since our inception in 2010, we have worked to educate the industry on how the use of temporary cover shouldn’t be a reactive measure but built into annual strategies as a way of providing flexibility, allowing businesses to manage absence cover and scale up capacity without the long-term commitment of permanent hires.

The results of the survey clearly reveal a maturing of the sector in the understanding of this concept. Skilled temporary contractors are viewed as valuable resources, helping automotive businesses navigate the continually evolving landscape of the UK automotive industry.”

Download Autotech Recruit’s Recruitment Survey here.