Auto. Serv. Technicians, Truck and Bus Mech. and Mech. Repairers

Unit Group 7321

Skill Type: Trades, Transport and Equipment Operators and Related Occupations

Type of work

Automotive service technicians and truck and bus mechanics inspect, diagnose, repair and service mechanical, electrical and electronic systems and components of cars, buses, and light and commercial transport trucks. This unit group also includes mechanical repairers who perform major repairs and replacement of mechanical units on newly assembled motor vehicles.

For the full and official description of this occupation according to the National Occupational Classification, visit the NOC site.

Examples of Occupational Titles

  • automobile mechanic
  • automotive service technician
  • automotive service technician apprentice
  • bus mechanic
  • car mechanic
  • mechanical upgrader - motor vehicle manufacturing
  • motor repairer - motor vehicle manufacturing
  • motor vehicle mechanic
  • transmission mechanic
  • truck and transport mechanic
  • truck-trailer repairer
  • tune-up specialist, motor vehicle

Outlook

Job prospects in this occupation are fair.

(Update: August 2015)

Over the last few years, the number of automotive service technicians, truck and bus mechanics and mechanical repairers increased slightly. This rise can be explained mainly by the growth in the motor vehicle fleet and the ageing population. Since these trends can be expected to continue, the number of automotive service technicians, truck and bus mechanics and mechanical repairers should continue to increase slightly over the next few years.

Sources of employment

Employment opportunities will come primarily from positions freed up by mechanics, technicians and repairers who retire or obtain promotions to supervision or management positions and, to a lesser degree, from employment increase. Experience can give access to promotion within the occupation, for example to mechanic positions with higher levels of responsibility and higher pay, and to supervisory positions. In addition, the rather difficult working environment (a noisy and dirty working environment, combined with significant physical effort and uncomfortable positions) leads to a degree of staff turnover.

Labour pool

Jobs will be available primarily for people who have a qualification certificate or an apprentice card in this occupation. These documents are required in most regions of Quebec where a parity committee for the automobile industry exists. Few jobs will be filled by experienced unemployed mechanics because usually the unemployment rate is relatively low in this occupation.

Although vocational training is not formally required, most jobs will be filled by graduates with a Vocational Studies Diploma (DEP) in motor vehicle mechanics and heavy road vehicle mechanics. It is still possible to find work in this occupation without a DEP. About 25% of these mechanics did not have a post-secondary diploma in 2011, according to census and National Household Survey data, a percentage that has been declining sharply since 1991 (50%). Candidates without a DEP can usually find work through an apprenticeship with an established mechanic and by taking upgrading courses on different aspects of the tasks carried out in this occupation: alignment, ignition systems, electrical circuits, air conditioning, technical consulting, diagnostics, diesel, electronics and electromechanics, preventive maintenance, brakes, injection, transmission and so forth. Some of these candidates without a DEP may also be recruited among those who started but not completed it. Experience in automotive mechanical installers and servicers (see 7443) positions also gives access to these career opportunities. Lastly, some positions are expected to be filled by immigrants who meet the entrance requirements for the occupation. Although the percentage of immigrants in this occupation in 2011 was lower than in all occupations (8% compared with 14%, according to National Household Survey data), positions are accessible to newcomers.

The occupation is relatively popular, but not all candidates are able to learn the trade or pass the vocational training. Only 45% to 55% of new students enrolled in the DEP in motor vehicle mechanics and 60% to 70% in the DEP in truck mechanics complete the program. However, those who do complete the DEP enjoy a very good labour market situation: a placement rate that is higher than average for DEP graduates, a lower unemployment rate, more frequent full-time jobs and a much larger proportion of education-related positions, according to provincial government Relance survey data. Given this excellent situation and this occupation's great popularity, it is not surprising that the number of new students enrolling in these programs increased over the last few years, from about 1,850 in 2000-2001 to more than 2,400 in 2013-2014. As the labour market seems to be able to accommodate more graduates, their employment situation should remain excellent over the next few years.

Industries

According to National Household Survey data, in 2011 about 50% of automotive service technicians, truck and bus mechanics and mechanical repairers worked in the automotive repair and maintenance industry, and 23% for automobile dealers. There were also significant numbers in the transportation industry (9%).

Trends

Employment growth in this occupation depends primarily on growth in the motor vehicle fleet, the behaviour of motorists and the number of motor vehicle accidents.

Growth in the motor vehicle fleet

Growth in the motor vehicle fleet (number of vehicles in circulation in Quebec) is the factor that most affects employment growth in this occupation. For that matter, most of the work performed by these mechanics involves performing regular maintenance and routine repairs on these vehicles. In Quebec the number of cars on the road more than doubled from 1978 to 2014, for an average increase of 2.1% per year. Over the next few years, the rise in the number of cars is expected to continue to grow at a faster rate than the population. The number of vehicles on the road in Quebec increased at about the same rate during the most recent period (1.9% per year between 2005 and 2014), even though the real cost (after inflation) of gasoline rose by m 20% over the same period, according to figures from the Régie de l'énergie du Québec.

Behaviour of motorists

And as the population ages, motorists are more concerned about safety and vehicle maintenance and are less likely to service and repair their vehicles themselves. Tightening of safety regulations, with measures such as the Programme d'entretien préventif (preventive maintenance program) for buses and trucks and public pressure to this end are also bringing about a significant increase in the number of mechanics assigned to maintenance and repair of such vehicles. Finally, we note that the steady addition of new electronic components to motor vehicles offers new opportunities for mechanics to work.

Number of motor vehicle accidents

Even though the size of the motor vehicle fleet more than doubled between 1978 and 2014, the number of damaged vehicles fell by more than half in the same period, an average of 2.3% per year. The decrease has certainly hindered employment in this occupation. After eased off from 2000 to 2009, this trend has taken on even greater significance recently, the number of damaged vehicles declined by more than 30% between 2009 and 2014. The downward trend in the number of accidents is expected to continue in the coming years, albeit at a slower rate, because of the decline in the number of young people, the overall aging of the population, the growing severity of penalties for people driving under the influence and stricter conditions for obtaining a driving licence. Consequently, this trend will continue to stifle employment growth in this occupation.

Other factors

Moreover, increased use of maintenance-free and extended-life parts is reducing maintenance and repair needs. Furthermore, increased use of electronic and computerized components in motor vehicles, diagnostic equipment and management tools, as well as in carrying out or managing activities, allows mechanics to work faster and more efficiently. This will also result in a significant increase in the requirements needed to gain access to this occupation and the need for continuous training.

Conclusion

The net result of these factors has been positive over the past few years and should remain so. Accordingly, real income (counting inflation) among Quebec automotive repair and maintenance businesses rose close to 2% annually between 2001 and 2012, but slowed more recently with a rise of only 0.3% between 2005 and 2012, according to Statistic Canada data.

Considering the combined effects of these trends, the number of automotive service technicians, truck and bus mechanics and mechanical repairers should increase slightly over the next few years.

Employment characteristics

According to census and National Household Survey data, women held less than 2% of the jobs in this occupation in 2011, a percentage that has been fairly stable since 1991. Although about 71% of people in this occupation worked full-time and full-year in 2105, a percentage that is significantly higher than for the average of all occupations (55%), seasonal unemployment is quite high. Thus, the number of employment insurance claimants is two times higher from January to March than from June to November. In fact, labour market needs are lower during this period, as a fair number of drivers have their cars serviced in winter, while many others prefer having them serviced or repaired at other times of the year.

Education and Training

Working as automotive service technician, truck mechanic or mechanical repairer generally requires a qualification certificate or an apprentice card. The parity committees in the automobile industry are responsible for issuing apprentice cards and qualification certificates. A Vocational Studies Diploma (DEP) in automobile mechanics or heavy road vehicle mechanics is an asset for obtaining cards and certificates, and to work in this occupation.

School board business services and the Conseil provincial des comités paritaires de l'automobile offer the following upgrading courses for all aspects of this occupation: alignment, ignition systems, electrical circuits, air conditioning, technical consulting, diagnostics, diesel, electronics and electromechanics, preventive maintenance, brakes, injection, transmission and so forth.

Useful References

Important Considerations

Given the growth in the motor vehicle fleet and the ageing population, the number of automotive service technicians, truck and bus mechanics and mechanical repairers should increase slightly over the next few years.

Employers' requirements are becoming increasingly stringent, mainly because of the introduction of new materials and growing use of electronic equipment.

Not all candidates are able to learn the trade or pass the vocational training. Only 50% to 60% of new students enrolled in the DEP in motor vehicle mechanics and truck mechanics complete the program. However, those who do complete the DEP enjoy a very good labour market situation.

Statistics 7321 - Automotive Service Technicians, Truck Mechanics and Mechanical Repairers

Main Labour Market Indicators

In the following table, indicators such as the growth rate, yearly variation in employment, yearly attrition and total annual requirements are forecasts generated by economists from Service Canada, Quebec region. The data source for employment is Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey. The volumes of unemployment insurance beneficiaries come from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)’s administrative data. All of the data are rounded.

  Unit Group 7321 All occupations
Employment, average 2011-2013 30,100 3,990,050
Employment Insurance claimants in 2013 650 80,700
Average Annual Growth Rate 2014-2018 0.3% 0.7%
Annual Employment Variation 2014-2018 80 26,500
Annual Attrition 2014-2018 400 74,300
Total Annual Needs 2014-2018 480 100,800

Employment Distribution

The data from the following employment distribution tables come from Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey (NHS).

  Unit Group 7321 All occupations
Employment by Gender
Males 98.6% 51.9%
Females 1.4% 48.1%
Employment by Age
15 - 24 years 13.7% 13.3%
25 - 44 years 46.8% 42.7%
45 - 64 years 37.7% 41.1%
65 years and over 1.7% 2.8%
Employment by Status
Full-time 94.0% 81.2%
Part-time 6.0% 18.8%
Employment by Annual Income
Full-time, full-year 71.4% 54.8%
Annual Average Income $39,100 $50,300
$0 - $19,999 11.9% 13.3%
$20,000 - $49,999 64.0% 48.0%
$50,000 and over 24.2% 38.8%
Employment by Highest Level of Schooling
Less than high-school 15.0% 12.1%
High-school 10.1% 20.3%
Post-secondary 73.9% 44.2%
Bachelors 1.0% 23.4%
Others Employment Distribution
Self-employment 12.3% 10.7%
Immigration 8.3% 13.7%
Employment by Region
Region Unit Group 7321 All occupations
Abitibi-Témiscamingue 1.7% 1.8%
Bas-Saint-Laurent 3.1% 2.3%
Capitale-Nationale 9.5% 9.4%
Centre-du-Québec 4.0% 2.9%
Chaudière-Appalaches 8.2% 5.5%
Côte-Nord / Nord-du-Québec 1.5% 1.6%
Estrie 4.6% 3.8%
Gaspésie–îles-de-la-Madeleine 1.4% 0.9%
Lanaudière 7.3% 6.1%
Laurentides 9.1% 7.3%
Laval 5.0% 5.2%
Mauricie 3.6% 3.0%
Montérégie 20.8% 19.2%
Montréal 11.6% 22.9%
Outaouais 4.0% 4.9%
Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean 4.6% 3.3%

Main Sectors of Employment

The data of the following table were prepared by economists from Service Canada, Quebec region. The data source is Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey (NHS).

Sector Unit Group 7321
Automotive Repair and Maintenance 49.9%
Retail Trade 27.4%
- Motor Vehicle and Parts Dealers 23.3%
Transportation and Warehousing 9.4%