Car retailers ramped-up their recruitment demands by 400% ahead of the easing of COVID-19 trading restrictions in July, according to data from MotorVise.
The motor trade consultancy said that demand for its recruitment services soared by 400% during May and June as retailers competed with the hospitality and leisure sectors to secure the right calibre of staff.
Managing director, Fraser Brown, said dealer groups are particularly looking to recruit public-facing roles as demand for workers “rose at the fastest rate in May for 23 years”.
“The number of recruitment days MotorVise has held at UK dealerships during May and June is 400% up on the usual level for this time of year and reflects the sudden growth in consumer confidence,” he said.
“We are currently recruiting for 260 jobs in dealerships nationwide, whilst last month we filled almost 180 positions. That highlights the huge demand within the motor trade.”
AM reported this month how car retailers across the UK have taken the decision to maintain COVID-19 safety measures – including social distancing and face masks – to protect staff and customers as coronavirus cases remain high.
Many also fear rising staff absences amid a UK “pingdemic”, with increasing numbers of people being forced to self-isolate by the NHS’s contact tracing app.
Despite signs that employers have become ever-more aware of employee wellbeing during the pandemic, Brown believes other pressures are creating recruitment headaches in car retail.
“Dealerships are changing,” he said. “Many are unable to increase salaries as, they are largely based on commission. However, they can improve their employees’ work life balance by adopting a more flexible approach.”
Brown also maintains that car retail’s current staffing issues have been exacerbated by the reduced availability of EU workers and the fact that the motor trade has a reputation for long hours.
He added: “Dealerships are recruiting staff based on their attitude and personality. It’s easy to teach skills, but not everyone has that natural ability to connect with customers.
“The days of cajoling and controlling customers during the buying process are long gone. We now need to train people to support and advise customers, so they feel valued and looked after.”