At first glance, turnover numbers for dealerships all across the country don’t paint the best picture of the automotive workforce. Cox’s 2019 Dealership Staffing Study revealed that 20 percent of all dealership staff were looking for new positions within six months. However, the most sobering statistic showed that sales staff have an estimated 80 percent turnover rate.
These stats may not seem like a cause for much hope. Nevertheless, there is an upside to this, and it is in the form of the next generation. Cox’s study also showed that more than 30 percent of Young Millennials and Gen Z populations are interested in working in dealerships. Since Gen Z represents those born from the mid-1990s to early-2000s, this group also includes those who are in high school.
Dealerships and the automotive industry as a whole are starting to have an audience with the up-and-coming generation. A decent percentage wants to know more about the sector.
So, here are some tips to help increase the pipeline of automotive workers through engaging teenagers.
Allow for Field Trips
Administrators and teachers typically begin to discuss career options around junior and senior years of high school. They may even take students on job shadowing trips or college tours. Dealerships can capitalize on this time by working with schools to allow students to come to visit a showroom. Students can tour the facility, hear about the various positions, and ask questions about the day-to-day activities there. In addition to a field trip, dealerships can also ask if they can send professionals from various departments to school career day activities.
Provide In-Class Training and Trade School Support
The cost of tuition from a four-year school is continuously rising. As a result, we see a variety of alternatives to the traditional four-year college education emerging. Dealerships can work with schools to develop a classroom training program that exposes students to the technical, and vehicle servicing-related aspects of dealership operations. This process could then lead to credits that can go toward a two-year degree or a relevant trade program. One great example of this is the development of dealership partnerships with the Lincoln Technical Institute.
Be Present at School Events
Dealerships serve the community, and dealership owners can increase their visibility by staying involved in school and community-related events. For example, members of the dealership team could attend high school sporting events and involve high school students in community volunteer happenings. Not only does this strengthen the dealership’s relationship with the community—and the school itself—but it also increases the exposure students have to dealership professionals as well as the showroom (if community-building events are held there). This tactic could motivate them to look for a position with local dealerships since trust has been built through years of visibility.
Start a Tuition Reimbursement Program
Student loan debt is on the mind of most Gen Z and Millennial students. Companies who offer to cover all or even some of their college tuition costs have the upper hand over businesses that don’t. So, dealership owners should see if they are in a position to establish a tuition reimbursement program. These funds could go toward a two-year, four-year, or trade school program while new graduates can receive valuable work experience at the dealership.
Establish an Internship Program
If dealerships cannot offer a tuition reimbursement program, then another option is to create an internship program. Internships are an excellent way to create a school-to-company pipeline. These programs allow dealership staff to help develop potential hires and hopefully steer them to ultimately work for the company full-time once they graduate from high school or a university. Students can receive on-the-job training as well as school credit for individual classes. Internships truly allow companies to mold an emerging professional and motivate them to eventually work there permanently.
Dealerships Can Attract the Next Generation of Automotive Dealership Professionals
The automotive sector is the most exciting it has ever been. Today, the industry is testing self-driving cars, network connectivity, and is working with other technologies that were only dreamed of decades ago. These advances are not going unnoticed by Gen Z. This generation is one that is not only experienced with using technology, but they also want to likely play a part in how it shapes the world around them. Dealerships can allow them to do just that. The work done now will influence how likely Gen Z—and those who come after them— are to take up the mantle to move the automotive sector even further.