Auto Sector Sees Growth in Employment
When the Great Recession was at its worst, the automotive sector rivaled the housing market in terms of optimism. Several years have passed, and the automotive industry is poised for strong growth heading into 2016. There are a couple of reasons for this:
Many of the world’s largest automakers have seen the forecasts and have felt the resurgence of interest in the buying public for new vehicles. As a result, confidence levels are on the upswing, causing several organizations to add to their sales, marketing, product planning and administration departments, according to Automotive News. However, that’s just the beginning – increased hiring is influencing the automotive sector in a variety of ways.
For instance, General Motors put a plan into motion to add roughly 10,000 employees to its information technology division, in an effort to build up its talent reservoirs with highly-skilled workers with attributes that will keep the company competitive. Just two years ago, Ford took steps to add more than 5,000 employees to its payroll.
"The auto companies are acquiring more mid-level executives, having staffed or reshuffled their senior ranks in the last couple of years," explained Steve Parkford, executive headhunter and principal of Parkford & Associates.
In addition to the restructuring and aggressive hiring strategies in place at many auto manufacturers, auto dealerships are also investing more resources in their recruitment plans.
Marc Cannon, AutoNation's senior vice president of corporate communications and public policy, told Automotive News that dealerships have put greater resources behind recruiting at universities, job fairs and other locations that may produce higher-quality candidates.
Other employment signals coming from U.S. dealerships should bring renewed optimism for many businesses. The National Automobile Dealers Association released a report in late 2015 that highlighted growth in both salaries and employee performance in dealerships.
NADA research found that the median weekly salary for employees at new-car dealerships rose to $1,026 – increasing 5.1 percent between 2013 and 2014. By comparison, the average employee in the private sector earns 30 percent less. In terms of productivity, the NADA report took a look at monthly gross profit per employee, finding that dealership workers generate $8,410 per month. Again, that’s a 3.4 percent increase over the same time period.
What Dealerships Need to Consider
Overall, dealerships – and the automotive industry in general – have cause to be positive. But this comes with a slight caveat. Although employee turnover at automotive dealerships is still lower than that of the private sector in general, there are certain positions within these organizations that experience higher churn rates. For instance, sales consultants have a turnover rate of 72 percent.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, sales managers have an average annual salary around $120,000. Retail salespeople are on the lower end of the spectrum with a median yearly salary of nearly $45,000. Depending on experience, productivity and tenure, the salaries can fall anywhere within this range. So, hiring the right person is a critical component of sustaining consistent growth and output.
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