Monday, 21 June 2021 17:32

Help Wanted: U.S. Automobile Dealers Struggle to Hire Employees While Business Booms


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The U.S. economy is showing signs of returning to pre-pandemic levels, and the auto business is booming.

Like many industries, U.S. automotive retail is struggling to find enough employees for dealerships to be fully staffed, much less meet their 2021 growth goals. In the 2021 Cox Automotive Dealership Staffing Study published June 21, 72% of franchised auto dealers surveyed say finding and hiring the right employees is currently a challenge.


A majority of dealership leaders---approximately 65%---report that they plan to increase the total number of employees in the dealership this year, while abotu 34% said they plan to maintain their staffing level.


Expanding the number of service technicians is the highest priority for dealership leaders, with 60% planning to increase the number of service technicians this year, followed by new-vehicle sales associates (54%) and used-vehicle sales associates (48%). 


Dealers' desire to grow their operations comes at a time when business is strong. According to the Q2 Cox Automotive Dealer Sentiment Index, sentiment related to the current market reached a record high in Q2 for both franchised and independent dealers, and the profit index set a record high as well. The three-month market outlook index reading is an increase from last quarter and, importantly, equal to Q1 2020, the final pre-COVID-19 reading.


"While the outlook for dealerships has never been better, dealers state that finding employees is a challenge due to people not returning to their positions or the workforce post-pandemic," said Angela Drake, senior industry intelligence manager, Cox Automotive. "The traditional lack of interest in working at dealerships is exacerbated this year by pandemic-related stimulus money and enhanced unemployment benefits.


"The good news is that our study found...

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