'It is the hardest position I have to fill:' Auto mechanics are in such high demand that dealerships and auto shops are offering big bonuses –

The increase was about 22% for all of Virginia during the same time period, based on the firm’s online database of job ads, which is updated daily.

“We are seeing it show up in the wage offerings too,” said Patrick Clapp, an economist for Chmura Economics and Analytics.

About 2% of the advertisements for auto mechanics were offering signing bonuses, according to the firm’s research.

While 2% might not sound like a lot, that was still four times as many ads that were offering signing bonuses compared with the fourth quarter of 2020.

Nationally, demand for auto technicians nearly doubled in the past year – from 136,503 in 2020 to 258,000 in 2021, according to the TechForce Foundation, a nonprofit supported by auto industry groups.

Last year, demand outpaced supply by nearly three to one, and it is now it is estimated to be five to one.

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College commissioned a study by the Southeastern Institute of Research in late 2020 that showed a need for 2,539 auto technicians over the next seven years in the Richmond region.

Wages also appear to be on the rise. 

Median wages offered in online ads during the fourth quarter in the Richmond area ranged from about $17 per hour to $23 per hour for jobs such as service technician, diesel mechanic, and maintenance supervisor, according to the Chmura research.


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