You can’t get the staff


May 17, 2022

| Author: Jack Carfrae

Like many other industries, the remarketing industry is plagued by a severe labor shortage. Jack Carfrae asks how this affects the industry and what it means for fleets.

Looks like recruitment companies and auctioneers have the same problem. Employees and used vehicles are both very scarce, and anyone who needs them has no choice but to pay through the nose. Their trickiest job right now is finding someone or something to sell.

The same shortage that recruiters occupy has been accentuated in the remarketing sector, among others, because the staff is sorely lacking. Steve Nash, CEO of the Institute of the Motor Industry, explains the extent of the drought: “The non-manufacturing side of the automotive industry, which includes sales and distribution as well as service and repair networks, employs more 600,000 people in the UK, but is facing unprecedented skills shortages.The sector currently has over 23,000 vacancies, equivalent to 4% of the workforce.

It’s not just about skilled labor. Auction companies, in particular, rely on low-skilled roles for logistics – fundamentals such as moving cars on or between sites and appraising vehicles – and these employees are just as difficult to find.

The remarketing industry’s only saving grace is that used vehicles aren’t plentiful either, so it can arguably handle a few fewer hands on deck than usual. A slight accent though, as a prolonged staff shortage is bound to have a ripple effect on its customers, namely fleets and leasing companies.

It’s not strictly about used vehicle sales, but the garage industry is closely tied to remarketing, and it’s a good indicator of how tough things are on the recruiting and retention front. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior official working with a large network of specialist fleet garages said company car that garages deliberately do not publish anything about their technicians or their qualifications, due to the likelihood that staff will be approached by rivals with job offers.

“Because there is such a shortage of technicians – and this has been going on for at least 12 months – garages are quite shy about publishing the qualifications of their staff. Other people can see it, so they try to poach staff from each other.

“It’s so competitive right now, and if you were a mechanic, the last thing you’d want to do is post your roster.
of technicians.”

Anecdotally, we’ve also been told that technicians have applied for and accepted higher-paying positions at competing shops, only to use the offers as leverage for pay raises and stay with their current employers.

Recruitment and retention is so acute it was the subject of the Vehicle Remarketing Association’s (VRA) April webinar. The organization has brought together a series of specialists to discuss the scale of the problem and explain how auction companies and their ilk could deal with it.

“Never has it been more challenging than it is right now,” said Helen Crooks, director of Wright People Human Resources and former transportation industry expert during the webinar, “41% of the workforce will consider quitting his employer this year. It’s been called ‘the big quit’.”

She pointed out that the cost of an employee leaving the company is estimated at 30% of their salary, and then went on to detail a series of reasons why so many people leave their current positions.

“There is a very high level of job offers and higher salaries, [but] this is very important: the employees who had decided to leave [their job] in 2020, but not because of the Covid effect. They felt they couldn’t leave, and now it’s all on display.

“Every day the phone calls I get are amazing. They’re about issues that started in 2019 and 2020. They’ve all been put on hold. These issues that existed but were put aside, are coming out now.”

Crooks adds that the pandemic-induced widespread work-from-home/hybrid dynamics crop up often. Some staff are very keen on it, others want to get back to work, and those who can’t or aren’t allowed to work remotely sometimes want to.

She advises offering flexible working wherever possible as a retention technique, but admits it’s not appropriate in all cases, especially those involving moving vehicles.

Pay is a big deal, especially when rival employers offer more (see our aforementioned technician example for more details) and Crooks claims that 25% of people leaving jobs are motivated by it. However, this means “75% leave for other reasons”, including culture, engagement and staff well-being.

“89% of workers at companies that support wellness initiatives are more likely to recommend their company as a good place to work,” Crooks says, “It’s about finding out what will help employees and make them feel good about themselves.” feel valued, [because] 73% of leavers have low confidence in their company’s leadership.”

Training and in-person assessments (or at least one-on-one assessments conducted on Teams or Zoom) are just as important for retention: “The last six exit interviews I’ve done were for professional development opportunities,” adds- she said, “94% of employees would stay with a company longer if they knew the company was going to invest in helping them learn.

“Keeping up to date with individual reviews and interviews is really important. People say ‘with Covid we couldn’t do that’. it’s even more important that you get back on track by giving that feedback. “

Hanging on to employees is one thing; finding new ones to fill the void is another. It’s not a new idea, but recruiting outside the industry is a good start, and it’s something that has long been trumpeted by IMI’s Nash, who said company car in 2021 that “people only think about it when someone leaves. They phone recruiters and say, ‘I want a clone of this person tomorrow morning,’ and it just doesn’t happen.”

BCA has been looking for staff from elsewhere for some time, as COO Stuart Pearson explains: “Attracting people from outside the automotive industry is important, not just because it makes sense to expand the talent pool in general, but also because it brings new ideas into our business and the industry as a whole.

“Earlier this year we held a special careers event at the BCA Rockingham Center in Corby, with the aim of attracting anyone interested in working in the automotive sector – whether or not they have existing experience. one-day event attracted a wide range of people, with a number of people currently recruited for positions across the company.”

The auction giant said company car he plans to hold a series of other recruitment events during the year, including a pitch at the British Motor Show career exhibition in August. It also runs graduate and apprentice training programs, including specialized programs for carrier drivers, mechanics, and vehicle inspectors.

In conclusion, Crooks believes that the one big thing employers across all sectors are missing – whether in the rush to fill vacancies or because it plays second fiddle to more tangible factors, such as experience – is behavior.

“Only one in four people would be hired again if managers had a second chance,” she explains, “it’s very, very difficult, when you’re really dealing with it, to bring in the right people.

“It’s very easy to miss something that you’re not looking for. And it’s all about behaviors, so when we recruit people we try to get under the skin of their behaviors – and that’s certainly how I recruits.

“I use psychometric tests [and] various [other] tests and assessments to try to figure out what they look like. Are they the right fit for this business? Do they have the right behaviors? If they have it, we can probably teach them the knowledge, we can give them the skills and the experience, but that behavior is something that a lot of people really lack.”


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