It's time we stopped focusing on everything wrong with our industry, which includes complaining about how technician wages have gone up to astronomical highs and how our staff is costing us more than ever. Instead, we need to look at it from the side of the coin—fresh faces.
Have you ever seen so many young people trying to get into our industry? It’s more than we’ve seen before and that’s because few industries let a blue-collar worker jump in and make almost $60,000 out of the gate at a base level, which is great for our industry. This is going to bring in the talent we’ve needed for years.
As wages go up, more talent comes in, and that talent may include people we would not have approved of in the past. We need to be open. It may be people younger than we’d like or people less experienced than we’d like, but they're intelligent people who are going to be the future. They’re going to be the ones who grow our industry, like it or not. That was me. That was you. That was all of us 20 to 30 years ago. We were all dumb and green but excited about the future, and we dove in. We were scared, but we needed an older crowd—the OGs if you will—to be receptive to us, and so, we need to be receptive just the same to these young people—men and women.
If you take a look around, more women are jumping into automotive knowing they can make more money in this industry they once never considered. And they bring something different to the table—attention to detail. I've only had two female technicians, but the ones who have jumped in have been meticulous and very fast. We need to encourage more women to enter this industry because it's becoming less of a job that requires strength and more of a job that requires brains. (And we all know females have way more brains than we guys do!)
Yes, wages have climbed, and we may not like it; we may be frustrated with it, but we’re at the top of the heap right now. If you think about it, now we're at $1,200 on an average repair order because of inflation (it was $800 just three years ago). Now that we have this larger gap, are we going to use this to our advantage and pay our technicians what they deserve and help attract more young people? Or are we going sit around our hands and complain about it? I for one think that we should instead see this as an amazing opportunity to bring in more talent than we've ever seen in our history. I have never seen so much promise in the industry and that’s simply because the wages have climbed. I think it’s an amazing thing.