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Firms short of staff after making redundancies

Sales personnel recruitment is picking up as dealers realise they do not have enough staff after making redundancies at the start of the recession.

Chris Eastwood, of recruitment consultancy Chris Eastwood Auto-motive, said: “I think sales people were the first to go. As sales improve, companies realise they don’t have enough staff.”

He also expects the positive effect of the scrappage scheme to filter down to automotive recruitment.

“I think we will see an effect fairly soon. From what we hear, the scheme is having a marked effect with some companies reporting 20% rises related to scrappage.”

Eastwood said recruitment had picked up this year after “falling off a cliff in December”.

He expects it to take between 18 months and two years to get back to the level it was in 2008.

But David Southgate, of Southgate Consulting, said that companies are still frightened to recruit, because managers are not sure what the best next move is.

He expects recruitment to be down for another three to four months before picking up at the end of the year when budgets are allocated.

Southgate said that the majority of his current work involves headhunting for specific people.

“There may be a pool of 10-20 people at most that are relevant for that job. That’s where the focus of our work is at the moment.

“Unfortunately, the market is flooded with good, bad and indifferent CVs. The only thing worth following is when somebody wants a particular skill in a particular place,” said Southgate.

Even when an ideal candidate is found, they may not wish to move. He thinks the success of scrappage will be short-lived: “It’s only bottom end cars with no add-ons. Dealers aren’t making any money out of it.”

Instead, Southgate said, manufacturers have to make new car offerings in the next three months “absolutely knock-out” with finance deals and add-ons for the market to pick up and impact on automotive recruitment.

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