Auto sector skills shortage

A Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce’s latest Automotive Industry Economic Survey shows skills shortages are emerging as a significant problem in the retail and service sector of the automotive industry

According to the survey, 36 per cent of respondents report unfilled job vacancies. In those businesses with unfilled job vacancies, 45 per cent have struggled along, short-staffed, for more than two months and some reported vacancies unfilled after two years

VACC Executive Director David Purchase says the worsening shortage of skilled labour may soon begin to seriously undermine competitiveness.

“It has become a critical issue for small and medium businesses in the automotive sector. However, if things do not improve, it will also become a critical issue for consumers.”

“They will experience delays in getting their cars serviced, it will put upward pressure on costs, and it will have a flow-through effect to the transport and freight sector and begin to also undermine its competitiveness,” Purchase says.

“In Australia, in this big country, we rely on being able to keep the wheels turning the services provided through the automotive service sector have played a key part in freight cost efficiencies and the competitiveness of the economy.

“Increasing apprentice numbers is the key to retaining competitiveness. VACC, through its group training program, employs over 400 apprentices.”

However, it is increasingly difficult to find suitable applicants.

“Unfortunately, traditional trades are being affected by a declining interest in trade careers among school leavers despite the opportunities they afford,” Purchase observes.

“Clearly, if the automotive industry is to remain competitive, and continue to provide the levels of service and convenience it has traditionally provided, the skills challenge is one the industry, and Government, must meet.

“So much of the economy relies on keeping the wheels turning. Regrettably, the skills issue is not going to be an easy one to solve.”

Source: Industry Week

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