The high turnover of staff that has resulted in rising costs for the industry in recent years has levelled off. Although independent garage staff turnover rose by one per cent to 16 per cent, franchised dealers recorded an average 18% staff turnover, a two per cent drop.
Importantly the long-term trend in staff turnover is down for both sectors.
An increase in the ratio of apprentices to technicians among authorised repairers may also ease the trade's skills shortage.
Basic pay increased by an average of 3.4%, above the general rate of inflation of just over 2 per cent, but below the increases for 2001/2002 (3.8%) and 2002/2003 (3.7%).
Matthew Carrington, RMI chief executive, says: "High levels of staff turnover lead to increased recruitment costs, training costs, and pay inflation, so these results are a welcome indication of a staff turnover slowdown. Although we do not want to be over-optimistic based on one year, there is every reason to believe that the industry is moving in the right direction.
"The guide suggests our sector is responding to some of the challenges revealed in previous editions. While this apparent turnaround is good news, the effects of skills shortages and high staff turnover are still with us. Basic and total pay for franchised dealer technicians is still increasing at nearly three times inflation, and survey respondents confirmed ongoing problems with turnover and recruitment of technicians."
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