Qualified techs top dealer concern heading into 2020
By JOANI WOELFEL
A dealer outlook survey ranked recruiting and retaining qualified labor as a critical priority in the new year. “As the business of equipment dealerships grows more sophisticated, and in some cases complex, the need to recruit and retain talented people throughout the business is also stressing dealers,” Ag Equipment Intelligence reported in its 2020 Dealer Outlook and Trends Survey. Dealers in the Pacific/Mountain region covering FWEDA’s territory represented just 10 percent of survey respondents.
Sluggish sales of wholegoods that shift focus to aftermarket sales, combined with technology and innovation, has dealers forecasting 75 percent of their hiring to be service technicians. Nearly half their spending is earmarked for mobile service vehicles, the report shows. “With the growing demand for service, no other area of dealership operations is [in] need for an infusion of more talented staff.” The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows 34,300 machinery and service technicians work in these jobs across the country based on available statistics. The median income for these positions is $40,630 with 90 percent of techs making more than $60,000 annually. States paying top wages for these jobs within FWEDA territories include California, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado and Nevada.
Yet the equipment industry cannot fill positions. With a strong economy driving competition for qualified labor and rising business costs, dealers find challenges at every turn.