With turnover in auto retail growing, dealerships may have a bright spot with Gen Z and young millennials.
Cox Automotive's 2019 Dealership Staffing Study found 25 percent of nondealership consumers had an interest in working for an auto retailer, down from 33 percent in 2016.
But Cox's study, released Tuesday, also found that more than 30 percent of Gen Z consumers — born in 1997 or after — and young millennials — born from 1991 to 1996 — indicated interest in working for auto retailers. That was higher than other age groups.
And their interest level was higher when positions other than sales were pitched to them and topped Cox's 2017 dealership staffing study. Thirty-two percent of Gen Z consumers and 36 percent of young millennials said they would be likely to consider a job at a dealership, up from 26 percent and 30 percent, respectively, from the 2017 study.
"A new generation is entering the workforce and bringing with them a renewed interest in working at a dealership," Isabelle Helms, vice president of research and market intelligence for Cox Automotive, said in a statement. "To attract and retain employees in this highly competitive job market, dealerships should understand which benefits and cultural attributes employees value most and take action to effect positive changes within their store."
To help recruit workers to dealership roles, stores can offer flexible schedules, review pay plans and benefits including commission-based pay structures, provide career path and professional development opportunities and the latest tools and training, and prioritize employee diversity, according to the study.
Overall annual dealership turnover was 46 percent in 2017, the latest data available from the 2018 National Automobile Dealers Association Workforce Study. That's up from 40 percent in the 2016 NADA study. Sales associate turnover was 80 percent in the 2018 NADA study, up from 67 percent in 2016 NADA study, Cox cited.
Among the Cox study findings:
• About 20 percent of dealership staff are likely to search for a different job in the next six months.
• 43 percent of dealership employees are considering leaving because of work-life balance concerns.
• One-third of dealership nonmanagement staff reported not feeling engaged or excited with their jobs and engagement was lowest among Gen X, born from 1965 to 1980.
• 39 percent of staff are thinking of leaving their job because they feel there is a lack of advancement opportunity.
The online study was conducted in February and included about 500 franchised and independent dealership workers, managers and executives. It also included more than 700 nondealership employees ranging from Gen Z to Gen X who had jobs and/or were seeking employment.