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Dealership Turnover & the Millennial Conundrum

Posted by James Patrick Kahler on October 29, 2015

The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) just released their annual Dealership Workforce Study, which covers data collected in 2014 from both national and regional dealerships. According to a recent article published by Automotive News, the study found that dealerships are paying higher wages and hiring more millennials, yet turnover remains a common concern. 

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Here are some of the major findings, according to Automotive News:

  • “Car dealers are raising their employees’ pay and are getting higher productivity for it. But dealers still suffer from high sales staff turnover and struggle to hire women and fill some fixed-operations jobs.”
  • “In 2014, the annualized turnover rate in the average car dealership’s sales department was 72 percent, an increase of six percentage points from a year earlier.”
  • “The percentage of millennials working in dealerships rose to 31 percent from 27 percent a year earlier. Close to half of all new dealership hires in 2014 were millennials.”

What can dealerships do?

Turnover is an issue for many businesses, however the retail auto industry seems to be struggling with it year after year. As the industry continues to evolve by hiring more millennials entering and growing within the workforce, dealerships need to reassess the way they hire.

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Automotive News interviewed Steven Szakaly, chief economist for the NADA, who mentions that many millennials entering the auto industry workforce take entry-level sales positions and end up leaving partially because it’s not the kind of work they expected. 

Szakaly later mentions that in order to help resolve high turnover, dealerships need to educate new hires (as well as the general public) about working in the dealership industry:

“It’s about educating people about what this work is like and how well compensated it is,” said Szakaly. “These aren’t bad jobs and dealers don’t need to clean things up. They just need to talk about the reality of the situation instead of allowing these old stereotypes to be there.”

So, how else can dealerships lower turnover? Szakaly goes on to advise that dealerships need to pay well in order to retain their employees, thanks to customer service demands.

“There is also a demand for higher customer service. How do you deliver better customer service? By paying your staff well and thereby having lower turnover.” 

While an increase in pay definitely helps boost performance and reassure job security, it’s not the only way to lower turnover. Fully evaluating job candidates before you hire them is a crucial step towards employee retention. Hiring on gut decisions or rushing the process due to the need to fill open positions are both ways you can continue to lose employees at your dealership. 

Make sure you’re utilizing a hiring process that helps you find and select those most qualified to work at your dealership for the long run.

Discover how to boost revenue and lower dealership turnover by downloading our complimentary eBook below. It time to place the right people at your dealership!

hireology, Hiring for dealerships, hiring salespeople for dealerships, auto dealership hiring, NADA hiring

Hiring Millennials, Hiring Tips, Automotive Industry, Turnover


James Patrick Kahler

About the Author

James Patrick Kahler is Hireology’s Copywriter & Content Specialist. He is a graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University and has over four years of professional experience writing for various industries. Outside of the office (and sometimes inside), he has a passion for comedy, advertising and his Cleveland sports teams…all of them.