The average dealership salary in the UK was £41,000 in 2013, a fall of 5% on 2012 (£43k) - and 9% compared to 2011 (£45k).
The annual research by BDO reveals the average remuneration packages of dealerships with turnover up to £50 million was £35,000 (2012: £35,000, 2011: £36,000), compared to that of a dealership with turnover in excess of £100m being £49,000 (2012: £48,000, 2011: £55,000).
James Newman, BDO's project manager on the survey, said: "The key themes found in 2013 are the continued minimal change of non-management salaries - in a number of instances significantly.
Our expectation for the forthcoming year is that salaries will start to increase as dealers start to implement pay increases together with the additional consideration of pension auto-enrolment."
Executives and management continued to be well remunerated, the research says.
However, managing directors on average have seen a reduction in their incentives, to be expected given the continued challenging working environment.
Key findings in the BDO 2013 Motor Salary Survey:
> The average base salary for all positions surveyed was £30,000 (2012, 2011: £31,000), with a further £10,750 receivable in commissions and benefits (2012: £12,500, 2011: £14,000).
So, on average a third of total earnings continues to be commission driven. And, for all 26 positions surveyed, the average payroll profile comprises a commissions element, therefore supporting the necessity to appropriately structure bonus and commission packages.
> Unsurprisingly, given the responsibility and complexity of their roles, the remuneration packages for the key executives were the highest of all the positions. However, they have also decreased significantly from 2012.
The average total remuneration was:
Managing director/CEO* £130k (2013) £168k (2012) £222k (2011)
Finance director** £118k £103k £112k
Dealer principal £77k £85k £91k
* The average salary for 2013 in groups with turnover more than £50m is £167k
** Influenced by FDs in businesses with more than £100m turnover seeing an increase in base salary.
These packages contained a significant proportion of commissionsm, ranging from 25% to 35% of their total package.
The next highest average salary packages continued to be new retail managers and used sales managers. Their total packages were in the region of £45,000 - £75,000 (2012: £55,000 -£60,000).
In contrast - and as expected - the lowest pay banding continued to be parts delivery driver whose total remuneration, including all benefits and commissions, was on average £14,000 (2012: £15,000).
"As expected the average remuneration of employees in smaller turnover businesses was less than that in larger turnover ones. However, this result is significantly distorted by the salaries of key executives," Thixton said.
"Excluding key executives, the average salary in total was approxiamately £30,000 across all positions and business sizes."
The average length of service at a dealership is about eight years, with key executives continuing to be at dealerships for in excess of 10 years on average.
Hours and holiday
The average number of hours worked by an employee per week was up - at approxiamately 41 hours (2012: 39 hours). Employees receive an average holiday entitlement of 24 days, 45% of employees receive car benefits with 75% of employees receiving other benefits.
> The third BDO Motor Salary Survey includes 32 legal entities together operating more than 200 dealerships. They ranged from single sites to large publicly listed dealer groups. Remuneration details of a cross section of around 550 employees covering 26 dealership positions were submitted.