According to Mustang CAT, “Caterpillar estimates that Caterpillar dealerships around the world will need to hire an additional 45,000 Service Technicians in the next 5 years to meet customer demands.”
And that’s just one, albeit quite large, company.
While less young people are entering technical fields, service industry demands have sky-rocketed, leaving thousands of vacant positions and field service organizations unsure of where the next wave of skilled technical workers will come from.
In an age when the mantra of Millennials seems to be “I can’t find a job in my field,” service organizations are scrambling to attract young, skilled workers to prepare for the oncoming gap in qualified workers.
Service Technician Job Description and Outlook
So let’s break down what we actually mean by service technician. “Field service technician” is a general term for any mobile repair or assessment technician who travels to a site to troubleshoot or maintain equipment.
All field service technicians, regardless of industry, must be able to work independently with little supervision and manage multiple service calls that are often unpredictable as far as how long they’ll take and the level of expertise required. Strong technicians have high-level technical skills which they use to diagnose and solve complex problems in their industries.
Customer service skills are often undervalued, but extremely important in a service technician. Technicians who are able to relate to, converse with, and explain complex technical problems become invaluable resources as companies struggle to grow customer satisfaction and improve retention rates.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts faster than average job outlook for general field service technicians. Technicians with formal training and advanced skills will have greater opportunities, as will those who work in computer-related or niche industries, such as heavy equipment repair.
A Growing Need for Field Service Technicians
For whatever reason, fewer young people are entering the technical field workforce, but the demand for skilled technical workers has been steadily on the rise due to the changing role of services in corporations.
According to Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) in The State of Field Services 2014, “service organizations are being called upon to create service offerings that drive ongoing consumption and drive business outcomes for customers,” as well as push for account retention and expansion.
As service emerges as one of the biggest money-makers for businesses, technical workers are in higher demand than ever, and organizations aren’t going to skimp when it comes to recruiting and retaining the best, most skilled workers to their team.
Benefits of a Field Service Technician Career
Service tech careers often involve challenging, rewarding work with flexible hours, independent schedules, and room to learn, grow, and move up in the company. And the pay’s not bad either. Starting salaries can average $35,000 just two years out of high school and eventually exceed $100,000/year for skilled, experienced workers, according to Mustang CAT.
Maybe that technical education–which offers hands-on training and opens the door to a lucrative and rewarding technical career–is starting to sound a little more appealing.
Service Technician Careers Series: What to Expect
While we’ve outlined some of the job demands, descriptions, statistics, and benefits of a service technician career here, there are many other aspects such as recruiting, retaining, training, and investing in service technicians that we have yet to uncover. Stay tuned for more information as our Service Technician Careers series continues.
About Joanna Rotter
Joanna is the content marketing specialist at MSI Data, a provider of field service management software, and creator of the enterprise field service app, Service Pro.