Trucking Industry Recruitment: Is Your Trucking Company Still Looking for Mechanics and Technicians?

Everyone knows that there is a shortage of technicians and mechanics to work on semi-trucks these days, right?  Of course!  The trucking industry has been sounding the alarm that there are more techs retiring than there are joining the profession.  However, is it a surprise to learn this situation has been written and spoken about for over twenty years?  That’s right, according to archives, there is an article about how the mechanic and technician shortage is already affecting many fleets.  It was written and published in 2001, and it hasn’t stopped since that time. 

This issue has been discussed by everyone from trucking trade websites to think tank industry reports to consultants and industry insiders.  After over twenty years, the lack of students pursuing technician jobs has put the industry in a bind like it has never seen, and it is one that will take complex and well-thought out solutions to solve.  This article was originally posted in June of 2023, and almost a year later, trucking companies are still posting ad after ad offering excellent pay and benefits for techs and mechanics.  Today, we’re going to review how the trucking industry is trying to solve the problem of hiring and retaining mechanics and technicians and see how things have changed, if they have at all!

“Baby, you can drive my car…”

But can you also perform the maintenance?  Schneider, one of the top carriers, has made it clear that, without trained diesel technicians, their trucks would break down on the side of the road, making it impossible for truckers to complete their tasks.  This very quickly trickles down to stores not being able to stock their goods, and consumers having to do without the products that they need and want.  New trucks are expensive as ever before, so it is important to have regular maintenance on the trucks already owned.  Not only are new trucks pricey, but with electric and hybrid and automated trucks still in testing and development, holding on to older trucks will prove to be a boon while waiting on the trucks of the future to be ready.  Companies, like H.K. Truck Center, state that “a combination of preventative and predictive maintenance to keep those trucks safe and operational for longer periods of time” will be absolutely crucial over the coming months and years. 

However, many industry professionals don’t believe that the problem is simply “too few” techs. did a survey of truck technicians, only to find that there is a problem of “too few QUALIFIED” technicians.  For some, the issue is that not enough high schools and community colleges invest in the right tools to show potential truck technicians the ropes of the job.  Only 40% of technicians report that their shops have mentorship programs, and roughly a little over half of all techs surveyed said that their shop will pay for the important ASE certifications, leaving the other half in the dark.  While we tackle educating future techs in deeper depth below, training is more than just learning the ins and outs of a truck engine.  It has to be about fostering a safely effective shop environment, and, with also reporting that 47% of techs are not required to wear safety glasses in the shop, being a smart and safe technician is as important as the qualifications needed to succeed.   

Training Tomorrow’s Technicians

There are many different approaches to how to solve the problem of not having enough technicians for the future.  As stated above, many trucking and technician professionals believe that starting with secondary education programs and giving high school students the tools and knowledge to pursue a career as a technician is key.  While that idea has a great deal of merit, trucking, mechanic, and technician professionals should understand that they must work closely with educators to formulate a strategy that will work best for younger students.  If they want a better crop of students to pursue tech careers, industry professionals will have to lend a helping hand in creating curriculum and making it attractive to younger generations.  In a way, this strategy could allow for trucking companies to “grow” their own techs, from finding interesting students, to giving them a clear view of what the job entails and the benefits it brings.  For now, while education methods are being discussed and tested, there are ways of attracting both experienced and newly graduated technicians to shops where they are needed today.

Looking further into it, the equipment still being used in schools is already “museum-quality,” with some of the parts used as educational tools being over thirty years old, or as the kids are calling it these days, “from the late 1900s.”  Ouch, right?  Needless to say, the technology being shown to students is already outdated and won’t help them achieve any real world experience.  Many schools also either can’t afford trucks or parts to train with, or don’t have the experience to buy the correct, up-to-date equipment.  With electrical systems being more intricate now than ever before, the training for these integral pieces must evolve alongside the actual equipment, and many professionals in trucking do not believe that this has happened in the schools and training facilities educating the newest techs today.

Outside education, as with other industries, recruiting techs requires good employer branding and recruitment marketing.  One of the best places to start is with benefits.  While paychecks are extremely important, they are not always the top priority.  Experienced technicians already supposedly make enough money, and newer, younger techs are most likely millennial and Gen Z adults who want more out of their careers.  Since many companies offer similar benefits, including health, dental, and vision insurance, paid sick and holiday time, and a 401(k), employers of truck technicians are going to have look deeper to find what their candidates want.  Other technicians have indicated that there are other, less prevalent benefits that they find attractive, such as a tool or tuition reimbursement program, pension plans, or even profit sharing. also surveyed technicians about the compensation they wished they received, with as many as 66% saying they received “fair” benefits from their shop, which means there is a ways to go before they are happy with what they receive.   

A business’s brand and culture also play an important role in which shops technicians will choose for employment.  Particularly with millennial or younger workers, a company’s culture is extremely important.  Workers want to feel comfortable in their work areas, so stocked break rooms, comfortable seating areas, and keeping shop towels available are just a few small things that can attract techs and keep them.  Don’t forget that providing breakfast or lunch for techs is just a small act of kindness that can go a long way to keeping morale high as well.

Shops looking for technicians can and should start to look in unexpected places too.  The military has been recommended by several industry companies, such as Truckinginfo.  Since mechanics in the military are usually trained to maintain diesel engines, their experience cannot be utilized enough.  When it comes to veterans, employing them is both the right thing to do and would take advantage of skills they have already received from the military.  There is also a portion of the population, about half, that is not being recruited from for new technicians:  women.  High school shop teachers see most of their classes are being taken by young men; sometimes there are no young women taking these classes at all.  55% of technicians state that they do not work in a shop with a female presence.  A stereotype of women not wanting to or not being able to keep up with men in shops has persisted forever, but that doesn’t make it an accurate depiction of the situation.  Ellen Voie of Women in Trucking says that women can be very useful in the shop.  From having smaller and nimbler hands and fingers, to being able to handle detailed work well, there is room to bring women into shops as technicians.  The trucking industry, as a whole, has come a long way from the sexism of the past, but they’re going to have start hiring more women as time moves forward.  


While little has changed since the LZBlog originally tackled this last year, the shortage of technicians has been spoken of for years, but it still has not been fully dealt with yet.  To rectify this situation, shops are going to have to change the way they hire and retain techs.  One of the things that every company employing technicians will need to do is keep those techs motivated and comfortable.  Most in the profession use word of mouth to look into potential places of employment; therefore, ensuring they are happy in their shop is key to making sure they are spreading good news about the company culture; this will help in creating a great employer brand and retaining the technicians you already have.  It is important to remember in 2024 that without technicians, the trucks will not continue to run, and everyone’s bottom line will be in serious jeopardy.


Meaghan Goldberg covers recruitment and digital marketing for Lionzone.  A Patterson, GA native, after graduating from both Valdosta State University and Middle Tennessee State University, Meaghan joined Lionzone in 2018 as a digital recruitment strategist before becoming the social media manager.



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