Industry Issues

Special Report: The Skills Shortage

Special Report: The Skills Shortage

Finding good staff is a challenge for more than half (51 per cent) of all Capricorn members, up 12 per cent in the last calendar year, that’s the big take-out from their State of the Nation Special Report: The Skills Shortage.

Capricorn, one of Australasia’s largest automotive cooperatives with over 26,000 members across Australia and New Zealand, has released its State of the Nation Special Report: The Skills Shortage, which shows over half of all respondents labelled the skills shortage as their most urgent issue.

The report focuses on the importance of finding quality staff in an industry that is continuing to suffer from a skills shortage in various sectors.

One of the biggest challenges raised in 2023 was the difficulty of finding and attracting young people who want to work in the automotive industry.

Capricorn’s report states that 45 per cent of its members believe that this is one of the biggest challenges facing the industry at the moment.

The report found that it’s taking an average of almost seven months to fill a vacancy for a qualified mechanic, almost nine for a panel beater or spray painter and closer to 10 for a qualified electrician in NZ.

By a significant margin, members said the lack of qualified staff was the biggest challenge facing the industry as a whole (61 per cent, up from 50 per cent in 2022).

Just 44 per cent of members said they were adequately staffed, a third were looking for staff and a quarter said they had unfilled positions.

For commercial trucking businesses, finding good staff was easily the biggest challenge, listed at 66 per cent, followed by finding the time to take a break or holiday at 41 per cent and then a shortage of parts at 38 per cent.

Work-life balance has also played a major part in this. 43 per cent of member respondents said that they struggled to have an adequate work-life balance while running an automotive business.

David Fraser, Capricorn Group CEO said while members were confident in the future of their sector, finding skilled staff is an increasingly stressful burden.

“Capricorn estimates that there are 13,600 vacant skilled positions across member workshops in Australia and New Zealand with these vacancies taking an average of up to eight months to fill,” David explained.

“Members have always taken on apprentices to help with a pipeline of skilled labour, and whilst appetite to hire an apprentice is increasing, retaining them is a challenge.”

Yet despite the numerous challenges thrown up by the skills shortage, Capricorn’s Special Report also found that their members were very confident about the future of their businesses.

Only five per cent of members said they were not at all confident in their business’ future, while seven per cent responded saying they were not at all confident in the future of the automotive industry.

The top reason for that confidence, they said, is faith that their business will continue to grow.

This is still down slightly on 2022 however, where only two per cent of members said they were not at all confident in the future of their business.

Confidence in the industry also continues to grow, with 61 per cent of members saying they are extremely confident in the future of their business.

Want to learn more? You can read Capricorn’s State of the Nation Special Report: The Skills Shortage on their website.


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