New technologies such as the connected car and autonomous driving alongside the emerging wider adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) signals changes ahead for the aftermarket and the skills technicians require.
To find out how the role of the technician will change, CitNOW surveyed automotive professionals and motoring consumers as part of its ‘Workshop Professional of the Future’ report.
Not surprisingly, electrification figured highly – with EV and hybrid expertise cited as the most important skill for the workshop in five years’ time. Mechanical knowledge, highlighted as the most important skill for the past 10 years, came in second place with the ability to use electronic diagnostics tools next. The top three skills of the past 10 years were identified as mechanical knowledge, the ability to work in a team and being a problem solver.
Three quarters (76%) of technicians believe electric and hybrid technology will be most common on new cars in 10 years’ time with the accompanying workshop skills being twice as important in the next decade, increasing from 18% to 42%. Almost nine out of ten technicians (89%) said they either ‘strongly agree’ or ‘somewhat agree’ that the growing use of technology will be an increasingly important skill.
But the industry faces a potential skills gap as according to The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), as of November 2018, just 3% of UK technicians were qualified to work on electric vehicles. This is backed up by industry professionals themselves who identified the biggest skills gap as electric and hybrid vehicle know-how, followed by knowledge of electrical systems, and knowledge of using electronic diagnostics tools.
With 70% believing that the role of technician will be an attractive career in the future, there is huge faith in the profession and that’s backed up by consumers, with more than half saying they would encourage friends or family members to pursue a career as a technician. Meanwhile, we are likely to see more women in the role with three-quarters of those in the sector believing there will be a bigger gender balance in the workshop of the future.
A fifth of technicians believe personalised video technology will be the most important tool for technicians in five years, reflecting the ongoing importance of video communications. With 60% of consumers who were surveyed citing communication skills as most important for technicians, this 20% are in line with customer thinking when identifying video skills as key.
View our full Workshop Professional of the Future report here.