MTAA Report Reveals Urgent Need For Government Action On Skills

The Motor Trades Association of Australia (MTAA) is calling on the government to urgently address the skills shortage affecting the automotive repair and services sector, describing the problem as an “escalating crisis”.

According to a report compiled by Deloitte Access Economics on behalf of the MTAA, more than 2,000 positions were advertised in 2023, with less than 800 filled. The average industry fill rate stands at 39 per cent, significantly below the 67 per cent threshold set by Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) to designate an occupation as being in shortage.

The MTAA said the problem pervades all states and territories, with regional areas worst hit.

Occupations such as motorcycle and diesel mechanics, panel technicians, and vehicle body builders experience fill rates between 24 per cent and 27 per cent, exacerbating the dilemma.

“The industry has a growing skills shortage problem, particularly for the emerging EV technician occupation. Industry needs urgent government assistance to bridge the gap, especially as the New Vehicle Efficiency Standard will accelerate the transition,” said Dr Imogen Reid of the MTAA. “Training and upskilling are key to ensuring a successful transition to low emissions vehicles.”

The MTAA said that while not deemed to be in shortage by JSA, occupations such as tow truck drivers, tyre fitters, sales representatives (motor vehicle parts and accessories), and motor vehicle parts interpreters / automotive parts salespersons are grappling with fill rates below the critical threshold, signalling “systemic challenges” within the sector.

Additionally, the fill rate for electric vehicle technicians stands at 41 per cent, highlighting a need to attract more skilled professionals to service zero or low emission vehicles (ZLEVs).

According to the MTAA, the report identifies several key factors contributing to the crisis, including a lack of skilled / qualified workers, issues with the industry training pipeline, visa challenges, remuneration concerns, and stiff competition from other sectors.

“[The] MTAA urges the government to prioritise addressing these pressing issues and calls for a concerted effort to support technician and trade professions in Australia,” the association said.