Hiring the best and brightest diesel mechanics during a tech shortage may require a change in tactics.

As business school officials said CCJit’s not just about offering a promising paycheck and a few tools to get you started, it’s more about the whole package of compensation, culture, and sometimes even a jet plane.

“We have employers come from all over the United States to recruit our students,” said Jim Mathis, president and CEO of WyoTech in Laramie, Wyoming. “Some employers bring in their private jets and load up students and fly them back to their area to show off their shops and wine and have dinner.”

[Click here to download your free copy of the 2022 State of Diesel Technicians report, produced by Randall Reilly and sponsored by Shell Lubricant Solutions]

Sandra Jordan, director of career services at Lincoln Tech’s Nashville campus, said employers are fishing hard for top students, which can lead to all-expenses-paid trips. She recalls a recent conversation with a college student who landed a job following a tantalizing recruiting effort that they won’t soon forget.

“I asked, ‘How did they fit you in? “, said Jordan.

What came next confirmed how far some stores are willing to go to attract tech students.

“[The student] said, “Well, they paid for me and my significant other to come visit their establishment. They gave us tickets to the aquarium. They bought us tickets to dinner. They paid for our hotel,” said Jordan laughing. “I said, ‘All right, I don’t want to hear anything else.'”

[Related: Diesel tech students maximizing opportunities in tech-starved industry]

Jordan explained that students are told to seriously consider job offers before accepting “because if it’s shiny and good looking, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is.”

In addition to rolling out the red carpet, stores can win over students with a tuition reimbursement incentive plan (TRIP), said Robert Kessler, regional vice president of operations at Universal Technical Institute and president of the UTI campus in Exton, Pennsylvania.

“I would tell you it’s not necessarily just the salary, but the whole compensation package,” Kessler said. “Many employers now offer some form of TRIP. They offer to pay off student loans over time, and that’s definitely a great part of the compensation package. In other cases, it may be resettlement assistance or tool allowances, etc.

“I think you have to have a very special person to be a mentor,” said NVI Director of Career Services Hal Wagner. “They obviously have to be skilled and educated enough to impart the correct techniques. And they have to be patient and understanding, and you don’t always find that in a senior technician in many stores.”NVIAs for benefits, 83% of respondents to the State of Diesel Technicians 2022 report, a survey-based report produced by Randall Reilly and sponsored by Shell Lubricant Solutions, said they have health insurance; 78% benefit from paid leave; 72% dental insurance; 69% are offered an IRA or 401(k); 64% vision insurance; 60% uniform/PPE allowance; life/accident/death and dismemberment insurance at 58%; 57% paid sick leave; 20% tooling program reimbursement; 17% tuition reimbursement; 15% pension plan; and 14% profit sharing.

Paying isn’t everything. Given the number of jobs available to students, they have the opportunity to be more specific about who they are going to work for. Although a paycheck is at the top of the priority list, it’s not always the main concern.

Adam Duplin, diesel program coordinator at the New Village Institute (NVI) in Blairsville, Pennsylvania, said stores would do well to focus more on their relationship skills with students who might as well jump ship if they detect better opportunities elsewhere.

“Even more so with this younger generation of students, we see that they are looking at mentorship or an open relationship with the employer to know that they are going to take care of them and help guide them and move them forward in common sense,” Duplin said.

Current training methods in stores vary. According to the 2022 State of the Diesel Technician Report, 50% of respondents are sent to training events and/or receive instruction from on-site trainers; 40% receive training through online OEM/supplier courses; 37% follow a company-wide training program; 28% are encouraged to seek their own training; and 11% said they had no training in their current role.

NVI Campus Director Chris Barton pointed out that developing a plan for students can help ease the often delicate issue of salary.

“I think being able to present a growth plan can help alleviate some of that compensation issue,” Barton said. “Yes, they care about what they earn from the start, but I think in some cases they are willing to take maybe a little less, as long as they can see there is progression. clear and know how they can make more money in the future by developing their skills or obtaining certifications.”

Jordan said students might be willing to take a pay cut if someone showed them an overview of the compensation package.

“We spend a lot of time in our department and our career services trying to educate students, because some will come and say, ‘Well, I don’t get tuition,’ and I’ll say, ‘But they pay you”. $32 an hour, so that’s the equivalent of someone paying you $20 an hour plus tuition. So we have to sit down and show them the card and everything to make them understand.

Make your culture known quickly

With smartphones in hand, NVI Director of Career Services Hal Wagner explained that students are looking to stores not just for pay packages, but also for culture. If online reviews aren’t positive enough, students can look elsewhere, regardless of salary.

“Culture is number one, especially with these young students that we see,” Wagner said. “They want to feel comfortable. They want to see that career path. They want to see growth and they want to know that their employers are going to take care of them.

NVI student on engineThe 2022 State of the Diesel Technician report produced by Randall Reilly and sponsored by Shell Lubricant Solutions shows that 56% of respondents think salary and benefits are the most important factor when choosing a new job, while 11% indicate location; 3% career advancement; 3% scope of work; 7% corporate culture; 4% type of equipment to work on; 2% continuing education; 5% company size; and 10% ability to use the latest technologies.NVIAfter doing their research, word of mouth spreads quickly and plays a big role, Wagner said, in influencing job selection, which the State of Diesel Technician report confirms with most respondents (67%) saying relying on word of mouth for job leads.

Stores that consider a technician’s family obligations, offer holidays, and close on weekends also allow technicians to feel more satisfied with their work.

“It’s a huge part that takes into account the end of the remuneration. It’s the culture and being comfortable with your workplace,” Wagner continued.

Mathis explained that WyoTech students learn to consider workplace culture instead of chasing after a paycheck.

“I think, more importantly, how are these students going to be treated? What is the culture of the store? Mathis said. “And I guess that’s where my first chip is. Culture is everything in an organization, and so we really teach our students to make sure you don’t lose pay or benefits, understand their culture, understand their expectations, make sure your culture matches their culture because if you don’t, I don’t care how much you get paid, it can be very miserable.

The importance of culture to the incoming generation of potential technicians could mean a shift in management philosophies at the fleet level, as respondents to the 2022 State of Diesel Technicians survey – of whom around 51% said 21 or more years with the company – ranked company culture as the fifth most important factor when choosing a new job, behind salary, location, opportunities for advancement and scope work.

Simply providing a positive culture is not enough. Jordan said it’s the stores that get to know students quickly and tactfully pursue them at career fairs that typically frustrate most students.

“We have people who are totally thinking outside the box with their recruiting strategies,” Jordan said. ” I am going to give you an example. I won’t use company names, but at the job fair, the people who hired and got the most out of the job fair were people who made offers and interviewed students on square. Other people said, “Hey, sign up for interviews.” We will be here tomorrow. But students can’t wait for tomorrow. They left. They were gone.”