IMR’s ‘U.S. Household Perception of the Trades’ Report (With a Focus on the Automotive Technician Career Path)

The U.S. workforce is struggling to fill a massive gap in the skilled trades industry and over the next decade, the problem may worsen. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are millions of skilled trade job vacancies. As of September 2022, unemployment was measured at 3.5 percent, which is normally considered full employment. Compounding the issue is the labor force participation rate, which is at an all-time low. The U.S. may continue to see a large deficit of workers, especially those in the skilled trades, for some time to come.

As an automotive market research firm, IMR developed these insights specifically for the automotive industry. This study has been conducted the first quarter of each year since 2020 amongst a representative sample of 25,000 U.S. households per quarter. The goal of the study is to understand and track U.S. households’ overall impression of the trades and to understand the perceptions and level of recommendation of the trades, particularly among households guiding a child through making career and post-secondary education decisions. In particular, the study focuses on household’s perceptions of a career as an automotive technician including their perceptions of the educational skillsets needed, cost of education, career outlook, opportunities for women, earning opportunities, job security and more.

Ultimately, with the current and future workforce gap projections, the auto industry must compete against other skilled trades to attract top talent. This research is meant to provide benchmarks for the automotive industry and to help provide an understanding of what barriers need to be addressed and what strengths need to be highlighted when developing strategies for winning the war for talent.

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