BDO’s newly-published 2021 Motor Salary Survey has shown that vehicle technicians were the biggest wage increase winners in 2021 as the sector’s average pay rose 5% to almost £42,000.
In a survey which explored the immediate impact and knock-on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, BDO’s data – compiled from data related to 29 automotive retail sector job roles – showed that the average base salary was £41,817 (2020: £39,755).
A further £13,637 (2020: £13,047) receivable in commissions and benefits, despite a shift which saw incentivised pay decline by 3% as basic pay rose by 6%.
But despite the increases, BDO also found that a quarter of employees are facing a freeze on pay increases and some even having to take pay cuts.
The news comes 12 months after the BDO report suggested that half the UK's car retail sector employees have been left facing a pay cut or freeze as wages “stagnate” amid changes accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During 2020 and 2021, given the trading conditions and staff shortages, it is not surprising that average pay increased, breaking a two-year decline,” BDO’s survey stated, however.
“This was in particular driven by increased service department pay as the industry once again had to deal with a shortage in technicians. This led to a increase in the average pay of 5%.”
Job role breakdown
Among the break-down of 29 car retail job roles, BDO’s survey revealed that the average remuneration of a managing director or chief executive had declined 0.36%, from £273,000 to £272,000, in 2021 following a rise from £271,000 in 2019.
Finance director saw their remuneration declined 6.4% from £163,000 to £153,000, meanwhile.
According to BDO’s data, dealer principals saw an average rise in remuneration of 16%, from £100,000 to £116,000, meanwhile.
They were not the only employees to win a wage increase, according to BDO's data.
In parts departments, remuneration rose 5% to £29,500, in service 10% to £34,750 and in administration 5% to £32,750.
COVID-19 has had a defined impact on working in the car retail sector, according to BDO, although the initial estimations of reduced headcount in businesses has not materialised to the extent first feared.
BDO found that an average of 86% of sector employees had been furloughed at the height of the pandemic.
Headcount remained stable
However, overall staffing levels have remained consistent with last year.
BDO said that responses from businesses which took part on the survey varied greatly, from a fall of 20% through to increases in staff numbers of up to 25%.
Its reports stated: “Last year over half of dealers were expecting to have fewer people in the business going forwards but the responses this year suggest this expectation has now fallen to just a third.”
As well as a reduction in the sector’s reliance on incentivised payment models, more businesses are shifting towards flexible working arrangements.
According to BDO, more than 80% of respondents were now allowing greater flexibility in working patterns.
The average number of hours worked by an employee remained consistent.
The average working week remains around 41 hours, with average holiday entitlement remaining at 24 days.
To read the BDO Motor Salary Survey’s summary findings, download the report here.
Only participants in the annual survey gain access to a full breakdown of the survey’s findings.