The motor industry may suffer from an image problem when it when it comes to attracting new talent. How this is addressed over the coming years could be vital to the success of some dealers.
The Pandemic has not helped with training for new apprentices with many training courses being cancelled or deferred, in some cases resulting in some apprentices leaving the industry altogether. Salaries for trained technicians have increased substantially due to skill and labour shortages in the market, further damaging the availability of qualified candidates.
The recent scarcity of lorry drivers is a prime example of where the shortage of labour has forced substantial increases in salaries. Currently there are shortage of skills in several areas including the energy sector, transport, logistics, hospitality, and healthcare, all of which have resulted in increased choice for job seekers. The question therefore needs to be asked “how do we within the motor industry plan to respond to keep and attract new talent?”
Addressing the shortfall in talent is critical to the success and sustainability of any business, we therefore know there is work to be done on making the proposition to a new jobseeker more attractive, keeping costs proportionate and within budget.
The answer is change. We need to work harder with local schools and colleges to promote opportunities within the industry; not just focusing on technicians, but also explaining the roles of sales, parts, dealer principals, marketing etc. We need to continue to improve diversity and attract people from different social and ethnic backgrounds and genders. We need to deliver improved inclusivity to show that the motor industry is for everyone
We need to explain the repairing of vehicles is no longer about getting your hands covered in grease. It now involves validating data from diagnostics, it’s about knowing how to read and follow wiring diagrams to discover a fault, it’s about installing and keeping up to date with the latest technologies such as electrification and hydrogen.
Manufacturers and dealers need to work together to improve recruitment as margins continue to be squeezed, it is however important that the focus on getting the best for the customer is never lost.
My own belief is the market will change in the future with multi franchised service centres becoming the norm and major work carried out by centralised service centres, but will have to wait and see if this transpires.
New technologies will attract a new type of employee, so we need to make sure that we carry on training and developing news skills, engaging the employee to prevent churn. Individuals that feel that they are valued in a business and have a share in the way the growth of the business is structured are likely to remain loyal.
Working with the latest technology in an environment that encourages openness and allows for mental, social, spiritual, emotional, and physical growth of an individual improves retention. Recognising individual strengths and building a strong support network to address varying levels of learning needs, also allows employees to adapt to changes in new technology.
Change is inevitable, progress is optional.
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