The automotive industry is yet to shake off the ‘skills shortage’ label which has plagued it for years. A lack of understanding of the evolution that the industry has gone through, the departure of retiring baby boomers and under-investment in education of motor mechanics, have all played a role in this shortage.
Nonetheless, each automotive business, regardless of size, can reduce the skills gap, while reaching its full potential by implementing an effective recruitment plan. This plan would see permanent employees skilled and valued, staff shortages covered, career paths clearly defined, and future talent harnessed. These four key strands to tackling skills shortage should play a pivotal role within any automotive business’s strategy.
A Fully Rounded Approach
Firstly, the recruitment of permanent workers requires a bespoke approach as the business who takes a half-hearted stance could find the process not only costly, but also face repeating it again in the near future.
Once employed, upskilling staff should be a critical component within the strategy. Today, technicians need continual training to ensure they have the relevant ability to service technologically advanced vehicles. What’s more, vehicle technicians are increasingly seeing training as an employment package must-have.
A blended workforce will likely prove the most profitable solution, combining the expertise of permanent staff who know your business, with outsourced temporary workers who can cover any shortfalls in labour or skills. Having a good understanding of periods of time when the business may need additional support is vital and having the ability to plan for these occasions and tap into outsourced resource could add thousands to your bottom line.
Last but not least, don’t forget about future vehicle technicians. So many new industries, including computing and gaming, are now competitors of the motor trade when it comes to attracting new talent. We need to up the ante and clearly demonstrate to the younger generation the fast technological transformation of the sector, and create training and apprenticeship opportunities to harness talent at an early age to sustain the future of the automotive industry.
1 • Improve Permanent Recruitment Practices
Apart from offering fair salaries, and perks and benefits that stand you out from your competitors, most automotive businesses should focus on improving the speed and quality of their recruitment practices.
If you are recruiting for multiple locations or need a large number of technicians for your site, consider working with a provider who can take on the entire responsibility. This can considerably streamline recruitment efforts and cut unnecessary overheads. For example, a Hybrid RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) approach could save a motor trade business up to 74% of its recruitment costs per year.
2 • Outsource Skills For Specific Periods of Time
Empty ramps can have a negative impact on the bottom line – to the tune of £1,800-3,000 per week for some national brands. Use the option of outsourcing skills by hiring temporary technical staff, to either cover for your vehicle technician or MOT tester’s absence or to find expertise that your permanent staff do not yet have.
3 • Develop and Upskill Your Existing Workforce
Due to the fast-paced progression of technology, there is no such thing as a fully qualified technician anymore and continuous upskilling should not be a matter of choice, but a priority. Companies who invest in the ongoing training of their technical staff and offer opportunities for progression, are not only more likely to attract and retain talent but also gain the competitive edge over other businesses.
4 • Build the Next Generation of Workshop Talent
Work harder to attract the next generation of technicians for your workshop. Create apprenticeship opportunities and stay open to the idea of hiring fresh-out-of-college talent. Spot their potential early and shape them into your ideal employee by investing in their development - this way you will be able to future-proof your business.