Hiring and retaining top talent is still a struggle for many car dealers, but why?

Hiring and retaining top talent remains a concern for many dealers, especially as business continues to grow, according to the 2021 Cox Automotive Dealership Staffing Study. On today’s show we’re pleased to welcome Angela Drake, Senior Industry Intelligence Manager for Cox Automotive, to discuss the findings of this study further.

Drake begins by describing the scope of the study and why it is an area of interest for industry intelligence. According to Drake, the data shows that having the right staffing strategy in place, really makes or breaks a car dealer’s success. Additionally, with the staffing challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, this information is incredibly timely. Drake explains that Cox Automotive felt like it was time for a refresh of research that had been done previously.

The study provides a comprehensive view of the current state of car dealership staffing. However, most importantly what it does, is uncovers best practices for how dealerships can effectively attract and retain employees, especially as more car dealers move to a digital model.

The biggest story around this year’s study is attracting employees and top talent. According to the study, the majority of car dealers aim to expand their headcount in 2021. This means that competition for new job candidates is extremely high. The good news is, that the percentage of people surveyed, that do not work in a dealership but are interested in working at a dealership, grew from 25% to 36%. What’s even better is that 70% of these people are willing to switch jobs today.

Additionally, this 70% percent want three key things in order to switch:

  1. Better pay
  2. Better benefits
  3. Work-life balance

Drake explains that while car dealerships are more competitive than other companies when it comes to pay and benefits, they fall behind in work-life balance. In talking to car dealers, participating in the study, Drake says they uncovered many creative ways in which dealers approached recruiting new hires. Ultimately, what dealers want to do is promote their competitive pay and competitive benefits, but also try to embrace a bit more flexibility in the workplace.

Attracting talent has been a long-standing problem for car dealers, and COVID only exacerbated the issue. Drake says, that the number one problem for dealers is that most people don’t know what it’s like to actually work at a dealership. They also don’t know the skills that it takes to be successful. In fact, that is the top barrier for potential candidates. However, car dealers are looking outside of the automotive box for talent. One dealer is taking the unique approach of attaching video tutorials to their job listings, to educate the potential candidate and highlight the fun aspects of the job.

To find out more key findings from the 2021 Cox Automotive Dealership Staffing Study, be sure to watch the complete interview above.

Did you enjoy this interview with Angela Drake? Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic by submitting a letter to the editor here, or connect with us at newsroom@cbtnews.com.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date or catch-up on all of our podcasts on demand.

While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for all the latest auto industry news from CBT News.