Reliable access to trained technicians is a fundamental issue for the Australian automotive industry

Shortages across dealership and aftermarket workshops limit their capacity to take on work, and increase the risk of unsafe vehicles on Australian roads.
The Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) has been addressing this, funding research to unpack the underlying issues, and help identify strategies for attracting, developing and retaining staff.
The first stage of this process was conducted by the AAAA in partnership with the MTAQ and AADA, with the three organisations commissioning the team at ACA to research the experiences of apprentice automotive technicians.
A number of key insights emerged from this study, highlighting the disconnect between community perceptions of mechanics (ie. grease monkeys) and the reality of life in a workshop today.
Four key groups (first year apprentices, fourth year apprentices, women, and career changers) were also identified as needing very different levels of support and development through the process.

One topic that emerged from this research (as well as frequently coming up anecdotally) was technician pay rates.
Many across the industry suggest pay rates are lower than could be earned elsewhere, with limited movement over time.
On the flipside, others believe that technician pay is highly competitive (and well above award), and that there’s significant potential for growth.

The AAAA believes that advocacy needs to be based on reliable data, and so commissioned ACA Research to run a benchmark study into the rates of pay (and other benefits) on offer for technicians in Australian workshops.
To date, more than 100 workshops (employing almost 700 technicians) have taken part, sharing factual data around pay rates, bonuses, overtime pay, and other non-cash benefits.
ACA Research Director, Ben Selwyn, will be sharing the findings from this study at AutoCare 2023, presenting key insights from the research and joining a panel to talk about how the industry can address this pressing issue.
The results of this study will play a key role in the AAAA’s ongoing advocacy and government relations work, while also providing individual workshops with robust benchmarks on industry pay, as well as a powerful tool to showcase to prospective employees.
The AAAA and ACA Research are still on the lookout for workshops to be a part of this research, if you are interested, please go to to compete the survey. The AAAA and ACA Research thank you for your support.
If you would like more information about the apprentice research, you can download the report at
This column was prepared for AAAA Magazine by ACA Research, the AAAA’s partners in the AAAA Aftermarket Dashboard which is delivered to AAAA members each quarter.

For more information about ACA Research’s services, visit or contact Ben Selwyn on