Snap-on’s CEO urges industry collaboration to fight technician shortage

Management Lucas Deal September 10, 2013

The numbers are staggering. After 24 hours, supermarkets run out of fresh foods. After 72 hours, people start hoarding food; gas stations run out of fuel. By the end of a week, our retail marketplace shuts down.

These are the facts associated with a potential shut down of the trucking industry, and Nicholas Pinchuk, chairman and CEO at Snap-on, says they are facts the general public should know.

With a potentially significant technician shortage looming, the trucking industry needs help. Speaking at TMC’s industry luncheon Tuesday in Pittsburgh, Pinchuk urged industry leaders to reach out to the nation at large to work together and solve the problem.

“What you do is important to so many people,” says Pinchuk. “We need to make these careers a national calling. They are important to the essence of America.”

Pinchuk says America was built on the strength of its industries, and it was the nation’s ability to manufacture, transport and repair its own technology that helped it become what it is today.

But as the country evolves, so do the opinions of its people. Pinchuk says Americans no longer view technical careers as top-tier professions, and he says that’s something that needs to change.

“America has lost the respect for dignity in work, and that’s a problem,” he says. “Those are our roots.”

Pinchuk believes the industry can do so, but not on its own. He says industry businesses need to be proactive in reaching out to the population about the technician shortage and promoting technical careers. And he adds that it’s going to take more than just contacting technical colleges.

Everyone needs to understand how important trucking, and truck service technicians, are to Americans’ daily lives.

“We need to make technical education a national calling, not a consolation prize,” he says.

  • Jeff

    look at the national labor statistics for technician income, who in their right mind would spend a college educations money on tools and training for that money….

  • Gary Buffington

    I noticed that the real problem of Automotive Technicians
    constant shrinking pay was not even mentioned? Why is that?

    LOW LOW PAY is the REAL problem with the “Technician shortage”! You should know this by now!

    The problem has a very simple fix! PAY and PAY BETTER!!!! Stop the
    constantly SHRINKING PAY rates and STOP the constantly DECLINING labor times.

    I made more money in the very beginning of this Automotive career than I do today, 35 YEARS LATER! How many other careers pay less and then they paid say like 10, 20, or even 30 years ago for expmple? Most other careers pay and salaries go UP instead of DOWN as the YEARS go by. Get it now?

    Heck, even Plumbers make more than Automotive Technicians now days. Plumbers work with very limited tools as compared to Technicians. Plumbers tools usually fit in a small bucket. Plumbers tooling investment could never be compared to the tooling investment and constant training and education REQUIRED of Automotive Technicians just to TRY to keep up with constant changing automotive technology. Why do Plumbers make more than Automotive Technicians in 2013? They didn’t use to make more money!

    As pay continues to drop in this industry there will always be a

    “self inflected” (claimed) shortage. The only REAL shortage is of people stupid enough to work in this industry at practically “fast food” wages for next to nothing. With the constant downward slide of continued LOWER and LOWER Technician pay along with the constant SHRINKING labor times year after year, what’s not to get?

    The OEMs keep lowering labor times year after year. The sad part is that the OEMs know that the year model before is the same vehicle and no different when it comes to actual labor repair times.

    Do you get it now? If you don’t you never will….. The Chairman and CEO at Snap-on left out the part that their sales have to be affected by the shortage of stupid people not remaining or working in this field. Crap floats down hill! :O)

  • Old Knuckle Buster

    Having been in the mechanical “trade” for many years, I know it is more than a trade. That is why people with professional degrees come to us for help.
    Do doctors go to other doctors to get their vehicles fixed? No, most of them couldn’t change a flat tire.
    Repair of vehicles, and more and more so heavy vehicles and equipment is a specialty. No less no more than being a dentist has its specialties. Are you an electronics person? A brake specialist? The skill involved is often no less than that of a dentist.
    The cost of entry is high, but so are the rewards. I have technicians that make more than dentists do.
    The difference lies in the way GOVERNMENTS view the so called “trades”. A dentist can write-off every tool, every business card, the power bill, the stamps to send out statements.
    Can a mechanical technician do that in a “one man band”? No.
    This needs a rethink.
    That and governments should be training FAR more than they do. Many jurisdictions refuse to hire apprentices. Shame shame. Private industry, and the technicians themselves pay the freight themselves, with very little help from government.

  • Old Knuckle Buster

    Pay is not the issue. It is part of the issue for sure. I think respect is the issue. That and doctors get everything paid for by the taxpayer, that taxpayer might be the technician changing the kingpins on his Porshe, but he talks “down” to them.

  • Truck shop owner

    Are you kidding me, what REALLY has to change is to let truckers make enough money to actually pay their bills.
    I am a small shop and carry $500K in receivables.
    The new trucks seem to breakdown almost daily, and need dealership attention, “put it in the line up we will get to it in two weeks.”
    Who can sit for two weeks for waiting for a dealer to hook up a computer, clear some codes, and change an injector(that they never seem to have in stock).