By Mike Davey
Hamilton, Ontario -- May 30, 2017 -- The collision repair industry can always use fresh young talent. Part of the reason for this, we’re told, is an aging workforce. Our most recent survey asked readers to fill us in on the ages of both themselves and staff members.
Collision Repair magazine runs new surveys every week on a wide variety of topics. Our next survey focuses on the digital environment. It consists of a few multiple choice questions and should take less than two minutes to fill out. You can participate in the digital environment survey here.
First, we asked readers to let us know their own personal age. As the vast majority of our survey respondents are shop owners and managers, it would be very surprising to find that the field is crowded with young people. The results were likely what you would expect. The majority (44 percent) are in the 46-to-55 age bracket. The next most common group were those in the 56-to-64 age range (28 percent), and we’ve still got quite a few respondents who are working beyond official retirement age, with 13 percent indicating they 65 years old or older.
The owners and managers who participated in this survey don’t skew young, even if we stretch the definition of “young” to include those aged 36-to-45 (11 percent). The smallest group of all were those aged 26-to-35 (4 percent).
Next, we asked readers to let us know the approximate ages of the youngest and oldest people working in their facilities.
Looking at the 18-to-25 age group, 67 percent of respondents reported that they had someone of this age in their facility. As might be expected when asking for the “youngest,” the numbers fall off precipitiously from there. The next most common response was 26-to-35 at 15 percent, followed by 36-to-45 at 12 percent. Finally, 6 percent of our survey respondents reported that the youngest person working in their facility was 46 years of age or older.
The question about the oldest person in the facility yielded some interesting results. The majority (56 percent) of our survey respondents told us the oldest person working in their facility was aged 56-to-64. Not really surprising, when you consider that a full 20 percent of respondents indicated that the oldest person on staff was 65 years old or older.
The results start to get really interesting when we come to the lower age brackets. Only 16 percent of respondents indicated that the oldest person employed at their business was between 46 and 55. However, 3 percent indicated that the oldest staff member was between 36 and 45, while a full 5 percent indicated that the oldest person at the facility was between 26 and 35! Bear in mind that’s the oldest person working there, not an average.
Speaking of averages, that’s what we closed out the survey with. We asked respondents to estimate the average age of staff at their facilities. Please note that we did not ask them to literally add up everyone’s ages and divide, but to answer “offhand.”
The majority of respondents (46 percent) indicated the average age of staff was between 36 and 45. The next largest group (32 percent) indicated that average staff age was between 46 and 55. Taken together, this comprises 78 percent of our survey respondents. We may have an aging workforce, but it looks like plenty of shops skew more towards middle-aged than elderly.
A minority of shops (5 percent) indicated that the average staff member was over 56 years old. However, this is practically tied with those who indicated that their workforce averaged between 18 and 25 (4 percent)! Finally, 13 percent of respondents indicated that their average employee age was in the 26-to-35 age range.
This chart highlights the "average" staff age as reported by the participants in our survey.