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How a Talent Shortage in Field Service Is Affecting the Industry

How a Talent Shortage in Field Service Is Affecting the Industry

Is Your Organization Adapting to Fulfill Customers' Needs?

The field service industry has been hit with numerous challenges as of late. Service costs went up 7% in 2022. Finding skilled labor for service jobs is harder than ever, and low-performing technicians can cost field service companies 67% more than top performers. Meeting customer needs is increasingly difficult with high expectations, fluctuating demand, and jobs located in remote regions. However, successful field service companies must be able to scale service and meet customer needs, regardless of the difficulties it may pose. 

Thankfully, field service technology makes it possible to scale service, expand serviceable regions, delight customers, and maximize ROI. Read on to learn the top factors influencing the technician shortage in the field service industry, and how your organization can use field service software to build a flexible and reliable service model that pleases customers and maximizes profits.

Free Playbook: Overcoming the Technician Talent Shortage

Factors Contributing to the Technician Shortage


An Aging Workforce

With nearly 1 in 4 construction workers older than 55, retirements will continue to reduce the size of the construction workforce moving forward. Dubbed the “graying” of the workforce, this trend will require more than 342,000 new workers on top of normal hiring to meet industry demand by 2024. In addition, an aging workforce also represents the loss of highly skilled and experienced workers. Many older construction workers who have been in the field for decades have developed expertise that new and inexperienced workers cannot easily replace. For instance, over 70% of field service companies say they are experiencing a skills shortage gap.

Shrinking Labor Pool

In 2022, the construction industry had the highest number of job openings on record (390,000 jobs/month), coupled with the lowest industry unemployment rate (4.6%). This means that the demand for construction labor is significantly higher than the number of construction workers available. Part of this is a result of the aging field service workforce, as well as fewer younger workers entering the skilled trades. Notably, occupations such as carpenter have actually declined. Without new and skilled workers entering the industry at an equal rate to the demand, there will continue to be a shortage of skilled workers in the industry. However, it can be difficult to attract and retain skilled technicians. 

Competition From Other Industries

Attracting and retaining new talent poses a challenge for many field service companies.  Service jobs can be physically demanding with unfavorable working conditions. Compensation is not always adequate for the physical demands and the odd working hours. Lastly, the need for in-person services typically precludes the ability to work remotely.

With younger generations increasingly prioritizing job satisfaction, the field service industry has been struggling to attract talent compared to competing industries. As the demand for large-scale construction projects, including chip manufacturing plants, clean energy facilities, and infrastructure, continues to grow, the need for skilled workers will also continue to increase. Likewise, attracting and retaining skilled workers will become more important than ever before.


Solutions for FSM Organizations Facing This Challenge

Invest in Training and Apprenticeships for Career Growth

Training is an important aspect of developing the knowledge of new service workers. Providing comprehensive training and apprenticeship opportunities can help your new workers develop the skills necessary for more complex service jobs. With 4 out of every 10 new service jobs being entry-level, training will also be integral to filling the skilled labor shortage. In addition, meaningful training programs are an enticing way to improve retention for existing workers looking to upskill and develop deeper expertise. However, successful training programs must go further than manual workbooks and outdated methods. Investing in modern field service technology plays a key role in providing the best training possible. 

Embrace Technology

Field service organizations are realizing that adoption of digital technology can play an important role in closing the gap for technician workforce shortages. New technologies such as field service management software, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence and IoT can help technicians save time resolving service issues. IoT provides a platform that helps field service technicians as well as end-customers troubleshoot and resolve problems on their own or through guided troubleshooting. Field service organizations can deliver improvements in key performance metrics like first-time fix rate and mean time to repair after implementing technologies like predictive analytics and artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence and predictive analytics can be utilized to diagnose problems, target the faults, and recommend and implement corrective actions before a technician is dispatched. All of which contribute to increases in first-time fix and job completion rates and customer experience. By reducing service redundancies, optimizing schedules, and increasing productivity, field service organizations require fewer technicians to meet service demand. In addition, access to a certified technician network can help to bridge the gap between demand and workers. 

Implement a Blended Workforce in Field Service Management

Many field service organizations have started utilizing third-party contractors in tandem with full-time workers to scale service as needed to meet demand. There are several benefits to using a blended workforce comprised of both W2 and 1099 workers:

  • Augmenting their current service provider network quickly and at a lower cost than hiring permanent technicians
  • Increasing the geographical range of their service network to areas they may not have serviced previously
  • Expanding the range of services provided to customers as a result of the broader skills and knowledge base contractors can bring beyond those of the employed technicians
  • Increasing their service flexibility and efficiency across a broader network
  • Faster time to market utilizing contractors with existing field service experience and expertise

To remain successful field service organizations must prepare themselves for handling the service technician shortage. The organizations that will continue to thrive, despite the shortage, will be those that are innovative and flexible. They will embrace advancements in technology, execute customer-focused service strategies, and empower their field service technicians while delivering an excellent service experience. The deployment of contractor management best practices along with third party field service management software can provide significant benefits in the management of the on-boarding, dispatch and claims processes.   

How ServicePower Can Help Your Workers Be More Efficient and Productive

At ServicePower, we provide state-of-the-art solutions to transform field service organizations. Our employed workforce solution is a comprehensive set of  field service management solutions that lets you seamlessly manage your workforce including onboarding, credentialing, scheduling, dispatching, and more. This solution provides:

  • Consistent Standardized Processes - Convert business logic into standard processes to improve quality of service and customer satisfaction
  • Minimized Risk and Protection for Your Customers - Comprehensive Onboarding & Credentialing that reduces your risk and exposure through contractor/freelancer background checks and drug testing
  • Reduced Cost & Increased Process Visibility - Significantly reduce costs by eliminating fraudulent and duplicate claims
  • Improved Operational Efficiency - Automated contractor job matching based on predetermined performance criteria

Discover how to overcome the technician shortage with field service software. 

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