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RMI/Sewells Pay Guide highlights growing skills shortage

The 2004 Pay Guide survey shows the median age of technicians is now just 33 years. That suggests they are leaving the profession faster than the trade has so far been able to recruit new blood. Sixty-one per cent of franchised dealers and 69% of independent garages say they are experiencing difficulties in recruiting staff.

Matthew Carrington, Chief Executive of the RMI, commented, “This issue has to be addressed, and quickly, because it threatens the profitability of our sector now and in the long term. The RMI is working tremendously hard to tackle skills shortages through its training division, ReMIT, and our support of the recently-launched Automotive Skills.”

The 2004 Pay Guide shows staff turnover in the retail motor industry is running at 19%. Franchised dealers and bodyshops fare the worst at 20%, while independent garages fare better at 15%.

National average total pay across all jobs in franchised dealerships rose this year to £22,528, while independent garages saw average total pay rise to £18,063. Franchised dealer employees received 3.7% increases in basic pay on average, but after bonus, commission or overtime pay (which averaged 31% of total pay for nearly three quarters of dealership staff) total pay increased in real terms by 4.4% - well ahead of general inflation, and ahead of average UK wage inflation of 2.8%.

Independent garage and bodyshop staff also received basic pay increases averaging 3.7%, but their total pay also rose by the same percentage. Fewer of them - 45% - received bonus or overtime pay and for those who did, it contributed a lower 20% of total earnings.

National averages mask wide regional differences in pay. Average dealership pay is now 40% higher within the M25 boundary than in Northern Ireland, where pay levels are the lowest.

The franchise to work for to achieve the highest earnings is BMW. For all six jobs surveyed for the 2004 Pay Guide – dealer principal, accountant, sales manager, sales executive, service manager and parts manager – BMW dealers paid the most. BMW dealer principals, for example, averaged total pay of over £70,000 p.a.

This year's survey found only 47% of franchised dealer employees and 19% of independent garage employees have pensions to which their companies contribute. Information on the RMI/Sewells Pay Guide is available from Sewells on 01733 468254.

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