Capricorn State of Nation
Serious Staffing Challenges

Finding good staff is a challenge for more than 51% of all Capricorn Members - up 12% in the past year. Only 44% of Members report being adequately staffed.

13,600 Vacancies to Fill

Capricorn estimates that there are 13,600 vacant skilled positions at Member workshops. These vacancies take an average of 6 to 8 months to fill.

Members Strong

Capricorn is Australasia's largest automotive collective with 26,000+ Members across Australia & New Zealand.

A Major Economic Contributor

The auto aftermarket industry contributes over $58 billion to the economy, employs around 300,000 people and comprises over 50,000 businesses in Australia alone. * *Data sourced from Correct as of 11/10/23.

Biggest Challenges

Whether running a business or looking at the industry as a whole, it's clear that skills shortage-related challenges have risen sharply over the past year.

Two men working together fixing an engine.

Understaffing Impacts

Unsurprisingly, businesses that were currently understaffed reported struggling with increased workloads and backlogs.

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Finding Talent

Finding good staff is the biggest challenge Members face in running their businesses, and it's causing operational, financial, mental and emotional stress.

A younger man showing information on a tablet to a slightly older man


Confronted with the skills shortage, Members have reacted by employing more apprentices — helping secure the industry's pipeline of future talent.

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Skilled Worker Migration

An alternative and faster way to tackle at least some of the effects of the skills shortage is bringing in skilled labour from overseas.

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A man removing film off an uninstalled windscreen for a car

Confidence in the Future

Perhaps the most pleasing finding in this year's research is the fact that, despite all the challenges being thrown up by the skills shortage, Members remain overwhelmingly confident in the future of their businesses.

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Have Your Say on the Skills Shortage

Our Members told us that the skills shortage was the biggest challenge that they faced in running their businesses, so we researched and prepared this special report.

If you're part of the automotive industry (as a Capricorn Member or otherwise), and want to have your say on the skills shortage, click the button below now.

Have your say

Who Took Part?

  • 1887 Members across Australia and New Zealand took part in this year's survey (conducted between June and July 2023).
  • 86% of respondents were independent workshops; 9% were part of groups, chains or franchises and 5% were other businesses type.

The results were collated and analysed by market research consultants at Klein and interpreted by the team at Capricorn to produce this report.

Advice for Members

If our research has made one thing clear, it's that this issue is having a huge impact on Members. That's why we've put together these articles that contain valuable information and advice that can be used to deal with the skills shortage and its associated challenges.

5 Ways to Deal with the Impact of Short-staffing

Practical, expert advice from Workshop Whisperer Rachael Evans for when you can't find the people you need.

Click here to read more.

Burnout: The Hidden Cost of the Skills Shortage

Looking after your mental health is as important as your bottom line. This piece contains information on how to spot the signs of burnout, strategies for managing it and a list of mental health resources and support services.

Click here to read more.

How to Find and Keep Good Apprentices

A good apprentice is worth their weight in gold. We talk to apprentices to find out what you need to do to attract and keep top talent.

Click here to read more.

Apprenticeships Under the Spotlight: Are They Helping to Solve the Automotive Skills Shortage?

Are the apprenticeship systems in Australia and New Zealand up to scratch? We investigate the issue and look at examples of apprenticeship schemes from overseas.

Click here to read more.

Capricorn's Expert Guide to Skilled Worker Migration

Is sponsoring the immigration of a skilled worker a viable option that could help you fill a vacancy? We investigate the issue and provide practical information on visa options and requirements.

Click here to read more.