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Average dealer principal's pay rises to £50,629

The 2002 Retail Motor Industry Pay Guide, produced jointly by the RMI and Sewells Information and Research and published at the end of this month, shows a 'headline' increase in basic pay across all sectors was 3% between 2000 and 2001.

This is lower than the same measurement for 1999/2000, which was 3.4%, but still above inflation as reflected by the retail price index.

Amongst the highest increases in total pay this time have been for dealer principals of franchised dealerships with a national average increase of 10.9% 2000/2001 to £50,629.

The following is a summary of key points from the report:

Franchise is only one influence on dealer principal's total pay. In fact, size of dealership, location and sales volume are all more influential. And, to calculate differentials by franchise, Pay Guide responses are taken across a three-year moving 'window' to ensure a large enough sample in each case. However, even bearing all of this in mind, it is clear that some franchises present a better opportunity than others. In particular, the prestige franchises invariably appear at the top of this 'league table'.

Dealer principal total pay by franchise

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21% give no rise in basic pay
The 'all responses' increase in basic pay of 3% is in line with basic wage increases in the UK generally, and above inflation. However, 21% of the 756 respondents gave no rise in basic pay between 2000 and 2001. This compares with 19% in 1999/2000, 14% in 1998/99, 11% in 1997/98, 13% in 1996/97, and 24% in 1995/96. Bodyshops, at 25%, represented the largest percentage of those not giving a rise in basic pay.

Actual increases in basic and total pay
The 'headline' increase in basic pay is what retail motor industry businesses gave as an increase in basic pay to their staff. But the effects of staff turnover and recruiting in a competitive job market mean actual increases in basic pay are very often much more. And increases in total pay can be considerably more due to the extensive use of incentive schemes especially in the franchised dealer sector.

  • Franchised dealers (includes franchised dealer bodyshops) actually paid an increase in basic pay of 6.5% between 2000 and 2001, and total pay went up by 6.1%. These are very similar levels to 1999/2000.
  • Independent garage workshops and independent bodyshops actually increased basic pay by 6.0%, and total pay by 5.9% between 2000/2001. These are lower than for 1999/2000, which saw basic and total pay increase by 7%.
  • Franchised bodyshops saw basic pay actually go up by 4.8% across all their employees between 2000/2001, and total pay increased by 3.8%. For independent bodyshops, basic actually increased by 6.5% and total pay by 8.2%. These actual increases would seem to indicate, as in previous years, that the independent sector is more generous with its employees. However, bonus schemes are more prevalent for franchised sector employees than employees in the independent sector.

    Staff turnover
    The high levels of employment in the UK over the past few years, and low levels of training/apprenticeships during the recession of the early 1990's, has resulted in labour shortages. When recruiting, businesses usually have to pay more than they probably pay employees already working for them.

    The percentage of franchised dealers and independent garages showing a net increase in staff employed did go down 2000/2001, to stand at 27% and 18% respectively. Perhaps, therefore, the increase in staff turnover 2000/2001 could just be a 'blip'.

    Regional variations in pay
    The South East of England within the M25 is the highest paid region with total pay for both franchised and independent employees running at 21% above national average. There was some tightening up of regional variations, and Northern Ireland - always the lowest paid region - has consistently closed up in recent years to stand at 13% below national average in this latest study.

    ##Sewells pay two--none##

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    The minimum wage
    The minimum wage for adults stood at £3.70 per hour when the research was carried out, and rose to £4.10 on 1st October 2001. For young workers, it was £3.20 rising to £3.50 on 1st October. 3% of all the employees in the survey were below the amount of £3.50 per hour, and therefore presumably young workers. The increase that came into effect on October 1 is not a burden for the retail motor industry.

    On average individual dealerships had trained 45% (44% last year) of their staff using short duration courses in the last 12 months. 43% (40% last year) of all the franchised dealer employees in the survey had attended a short duration training course in the last 12 months. 49% (50% last year) of group staff attended courses against only 39% (39% last year as well) of non-group staff.

  • The 2002 Retail Motor Industry Pay Guide costs £104.95 (plus £4.95 post and packing). A discount is available to RMIF and Sewells members. Ordering is from Sewells Information and Research by ringing 01733-468254.
  • The survey for the 2002 Retail Motor Industry Pay Guide attracted a record response with 756 RMIF members taking part. They supplied details of the pay and conditions for 17,304 retail motor industry employees (nearly 10% more than last year) in franchised dealerships, independent garages, and franchised and independent bodyshops.
  • 27 franchised dealer jobs and 17 independent garage workshop and bodyshop jobs were analysed. There is also a national summary of benefits, bonus, holidays and hours worked. Other essential issues addressed this year include staff turnover, recruitment difficulties, apprentices, training courses attended, and the background of the dealer principal. (November 22, 2001)
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