McLEAN, Virginia — A new study by the National Automobile Dealers Association shows that U.S. auto dealership employment grew 3.4 percent in 2013, topping 1 million people, with weekly employee earnings up 1.3 percent over the prior year and work-life balance improving.
Those are some of the findings of the third annual NADA Dealership Workforce Study, released on Wednesday.
"As the appeal of careers with new-car and -truck dealerships grows, so do the opportunities for these businesses to attract top talent," said John Lyboldt, NADA's vice president of dealership operations, in a statement. "This comprehensive and timely study on the dealership workforce is an invaluable resource for any dealer to gain an edge on the competition in that effort."
The study found that the gender gap in dealership employment is unchanged from 2012, with women holding just 17.7 percent of the jobs. It also determined that employment of Generation Y workers is on the rise; they made up 47 percent of new hires in 2013 and now account for 27 percent of the total.
One area of concern remains the turnover of sales staff. The report states that although the 2013 turnover rate for all dealership employees was 36 percent, compared to 35 percent in 2012, among sales consultants the rate of turnover was 66 percent, an increase of 4 percent.
Said Ted Kraybill, president and founder of ESI Trends, which designed the study: "Although the industry is often characterized as a 'high-turnover' work environment, actual turnover at new-car dealerships is significantly less than the private sector average. Only at the sales consultant position does turnover exceed the national average, but many dealerships are taking important steps to address that challenge, such as reorganizing their staffing models to reduce total hours and focusing on team-based incentives."
One thing many dealerships are doing to retain talent is to improve the work-life balance. NADA found that the number of dealers scheduling staff to work more than 45 hours per week has dropped steadily over the three years of the study, and now only 13 percent of dealerships schedule sales consultants to work more than 50 hours per week.
Another important factor in retaining staff is, of course, the rate of pay. And, according to the study, auto dealerships reported median weekly employee earnings of $976 in 2013, 25 percent more than the median weekly salary of $782 for the U.S. private-sector workforce as a whole.
The NADA 2014 Dealership Workforce Study is primarily intended to provide auto dealers with information and analysis to help them recruit, hire and retain talent. Its findings are based on hard data culled from more than 240,000 payroll records.
The full report can be purchased for $150 by logging in to nadauniversity.com or by calling 800-557-6232.
Edmunds says: The growth of dealership staff is good news for consumers looking to buy a vehicle or have one serviced.