Young employees could force dealers to get a life

Donna Harris covers automotive retailing for Automotive News
I just got back from a finance and insurance conference in Las Vegas where I bumped into a dealer who used to be open seven days a week but is now closed on Sundays.

That’s counter to the trend over the past several years, during which more dealerships have extended their hours and remained open all weekend.

The dealer told me his shorter workweek has nothing to do with the old “blue laws” requiring businesses to close on the Sabbath. It’s a response to new hires.

He said he’s hiring more new college graduates from Generation Y, those born in the 1980s and 1990s. And if he required his younger employees to work Sunday, they’d quit. Unlike their more materialistic baby boom parents -- who can be workaholics --this generation wants to have a life, he observed.

The dealer raises an important issue. More Generation Y-ers are entering the work force. The long, hard hours typical of auto retail -- on top of the stigma of the stereotypical, plaid-suited car salesman -- might be repelling good job candidates.