For a while, industry watchers were concerned that millennials wouldn't even buy cars. Now, there's another millennial issue dealers are coping with: retaining them as employees.
Millennials accounted for 60 percent of all new hires in 2015, a 3-percentage-point increase from a year earlier, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association's 2016 Dealership Workforce Study. They make up 42 percent of dealership personnel, a 4-point rise from a year earlier.
Turnover among millennials, however, was 52 percent, up 1 point from a year earlier and the highest among generational segments. Gen X's turnover rate held flat at 35 percent, and baby boomers' rate inched up 3 points to 26 percent.
Employment experts say dealers who learn about millennials' standards and values are more likely to keep them around long term and effectively train them in auto retailing.
Millennials want to make an impact in the workplace right away, experts say. They want a defined career path, flexible schedules and consistent pay plans. Because their standards differ from those of previous generations, dealers should strive to understand and work with millennials' preferences to prepare for the future of auto retail.
"They are naturally open to challenging the status quo," said Jason Dorsey, co-founder of the Center for Generational Kinetics. Millennials, whom Dorsey defines as those born between 1977 and 1995, start their jobs believing that they will make a great impact. But in auto retail, promotions often take awhile.
"Millennials may feel like they're spinning their wheels while in reality, they're not," he said.