Staff shortages biggest challenge for garages study finds

Published:  11 January, 2022

COVID-19 and the ongoing skills shortage has caused a cascade of problems for garages during 2021, a new survey has shown. Being able to hire enough mechanics and MOT testers was the biggest worry for 67% of garages, a situation compounded by ongoing Coronavirus-related absences, the research from The Motor Ombudsman found.

The study also found that 50% of businesses said that staff testing positive for COVID-19 or having to self-isolate had caused disruption. 44% went on to say that the pre-existing shortage meant they did not have enough staff to be able to deal with the new pattern for MOTs, which was caused by the MOT exemption.

The shortages also meant 40% said they did not have the stretch to send staff on training courses, while 38% said it meant they could not accommodate EV servicing, which could have an impact on their business longer term.

Disruption to parts supplies, which impacts on throughput in the workshop had affected 60% of those questions, while higher costs and lower profitability were a concern for 42%. Another 17% believed lower new car sales was having an impact on their business. There were also widespread concerns over not being able to take on apprentices.

Commenting on the study, Bill Fennell, Chief Ombudsman and Managing Director of The Motor Ombudsman, said: “The results of the study clearly show that staffing levels and a limited pool of qualified technicians to recruit from have taken centre stage, with there being little sign that this will change in the near future according to the garages and workshops polled.”

Bill He: “As we look ahead, 2022 will see businesses having to continue to contend with challenges brought about by COVID-19 and the trading environment witnessed in 2021, whilst the increasing parc of electric vehicles on UK roads will also demand both expenditure and expertise to be able to accommodate them for servicing and repair work. It will be another year of evolution and change, and we will be on-hand to support our UK-wide network of accredited garages where possible.”

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