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Fontana: Tech retention is moving in the right direction

Jan. 16, 2024
A recent WrenchWay survey shows that technician retention in the industry is up, but there is still a long way to go in appreciating and supporting technicians.

Finally, there is some good news when it comes to technicians. According to WrenchWay, the trucking industry is making strides in its efforts to recruit and retain technicians. The company’s 2023 Voice of Technician survey showed that in 2023, less than half of the technicians surveyed (49%) were considering leaving their jobs. While that is still significant, it is considerably lower than the 79% of the 2022 respondents who said they were considering leaving.

The survey also asked what factors led to technicians wanting to leave. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 24%, stress related to pay
  • 24%, physical and mental demands of the work
  • 15%, poor management
  • 12%, cost of tools
  • 9%, lack of respect

I’m not going to address the issue of pay except to say that all of us need to pay our technicians a competitive wage, and we need to recognize that we are competing for talent with a host of industries beyond trucking.

While there is no denying that being a technician is physically and mentally demanding, there are things we can do to make it less physically demanding. This includes investing in lifts and hoists, keeping the shop organized and clean, and having up-to-date diagnostic tools. We also need to invest in training. Being adequately trained gives technicians confidence in their ability to troubleshoot and repair problems, which should help alleviate some mental stress.

See also: Fontana: Mentorship programs can increase worker retention

Did you know that one of the top two reasons people leave their jobs is because of their bosses? Ensure that people in management positions in your organization are properly trained on how to be effective managers to prevent good techs from leaving.

Technicians need the proper tools to complete their jobs, and historically, the industry has expected techs to purchase their tools (although shops typically picked up the cost of shared specialty tools). As part of their effort to attract new technicians, many shops offer tool allowances to techs just entering the business. The tool allowances are usually predicated on the tech staying with the shop for a certain period. Tool allowances can also be incentives for existing techs too.

In 2020, the American Trucking Associations and the ATA Technology & Maintenance Council announced the first Technician Appreciation Week. It’s great that we’ve set aside a special week to honor technicians, but it’s not enough. We need to ensure technicians know just how important they are to the safe and efficient operation of the nation’s fleet.

The recent WrenchWay survey shows that the industry is moving in the right direction regarding retaining technicians. Hopefully, the following survey will reveal even fewer technicians considering leaving their jobs, and I think it can if we all work at addressing their concerns.

Gino Fontana, CTP, is COO and EVP at Transervice Logistics Inc. Prior to this, he was VP of operations at Berkeley Division and Puerto Rico. He has more than 35 years of experience in the transportation and logistics industry with both operational and sales experience.

About the Author

Gino Fontana | Chief operating officer and executive vice president at Transervice Logistics Inc.

Gino Fontana, CTP, is COO and EVP at Transervice Logistics Inc. Prior to this recent promotion, he was VP of operations at Berkeley Division and Puerto Rico. His operational expertise emphasizes cost savings, process efficiency and improvement, superior quality, and people management skills. He has more than 35 years of experience in the transportation and logistics industry with both operational and sales experience.

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