If your store – like many across the US – is feeling the strain of record employee turnover, we have some good news. There are millions of Generation Z members entering the workforce, and they're showing more than a passing interest in dealership jobs. The latest Dealership Staffing Study by Cox Automotive explores who these candidates are, and what you can do to stem the flow of employees drifting out your door.

Gen Z's Rising Interest in Dealership Jobs

Gen Zers Entering Workforce Have Renewed Interest in Dealership JobsThere are approximately 61 million members of Gen Z entering the US workforce right now, which offers dealers a good opportunity to attract this young talent.

You need to be prepared to retain this talent if you get it, though. Among the 30% of Gen Zers and Young Millennials interested in dealership work, the interest is even higher when they're presented with roles other than in sales.

This could pose a tricky situation, since the largest dealership turnover is happening within the sales staff, where the annual turnover rate in the US has reached new heights, soaring to 80%.

"The good news is that dealerships have an opportunity to reverse this trend," said Isabelle Helms, vice president, research and market intelligence for Cox Automotive. "A new generation is entering the workforce and bringing with them a renewed interest in working at a dealership. To attract and retain employees in the 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."

Dealership Staffing Study Findings

Before we take a look at what you can do to attract and retain new talent, here's what else the Cox Automotive 2019 Dealership Staffing Study found:

  • Turnover not a top concern – Even though turnover is at an all-time high, franchised dealers are more concerned that elements like market conditions and competition are holding them back. While 39% of dealers surveyed cited market conditions as their top concern and 37% singled out competition, only 25% of dealers listed staff turnover as a top concern.
  • One-fifth of employees looking elsewhere – Despite turnover not being top of mind for franchised dealerships, between the franchised and independent dealers surveyed, 20% of staff members said they'd likely be looking for another job in the next six months. This isn't shocking, considering a third of all non-management employees at these dealerships said they didn't feel excited about – or engaged by – their jobs.
  • Generation X not feeling engaged – Employee engagement results noted that the largest generational group affected by feelings of non-engagement was Gen X, weighing in at a 58% rate of engagement. As for the roles within dealerships, only half of the customer service staff and 57% of service advisors felt engaged by their jobs.
  • Satisfaction lower for sales staff and service advisors – By the same token, job satisfaction is much lower among sales consultants and service advisors, showing only 67% and 68% of job satisfaction overall, respectively. Satisfaction was higher for those in leadership roles – 16 points higher, in fact – than regular employees. Managers also showed a rate of job satisfaction 12 points higher than other employees.
  • Top reasons for turnover – Satisfaction is down for a number of reasons, but the top five reasons dealership employees considered new jobs reveals the wide range of concerns: 57% cited better pay, 43% needed a better work-life balance, 39% noted no opportunity for advancement, 28% were dissatisfied with the long hours, and 23% mentioned wanting better benefits.
  • Younger generations interested in dealership employment – Not all the news is bad, however, and up and coming generations of potential employees have shown an interest in working at a dealership. With Gen Zers slated to make up 20% of the workforce by 2020, it's a good sign that 32% of them in the study demonstrated an interest in dealership jobs. Young Millennials crept in just above Gen Z and with a 36% interest in dealership employment. Older Millennials and Gen Xers are much less open to the idea, with 21% and 19% interested, respectively.

Turning the Tide of Employment Potential

With the recent study shedding light on factors contributing to record turnover, dealers should focus on what they can do to gain new employees, retain those they have, and foster an overall environment of employee engagement.

"Dealers can't afford to take their eyes off their employees' needs," said Bob Kostkan, senior director with Cox Automotive University. "With record high dealership turnover and a low unemployment rate of 3.7% as of June 2019, it's critical that dealership leaders improve productivity while also enhancing employee engagement and retention. These are controllable issues that must be addressed to maximize customer experience and profitability."

Noting those statistics, Cox's study took a hard look at some changes dealers should consider in order to attract and retain employees in today's market. Here's what they found:

  • Work/life balance – Dealerships should consider embracing a more flexible work/life culture. Balance of work and home life, as well as long hours, are a big driver for employee satisfaction, or lack thereof.
  • Pay and benefits – Your pay and benefits plans are important to your employees, and you should take this into strong consideration. In fact, 41% of job seekers said they wouldn't consider employment that was paid on commission, while 61% said great health benefits are a must.
  • Make them feel valued – Dealerships that offer professional development opportunities and career planning see a much higher rate of employee satisfaction and retention. Make sure your employees feel valued and that they have a chance for career advancement.
  • Digital tools to succeed – Offering the latest tools and technology is a must, especially if you want to attract the Gen Zers that are joining the workforce. The way customers buy vehicles is changing, and 85% of dealership leaders agree they need to adapt. According to Cox Automotive, access to the latest technology is essential to success in today's digital age – and it's expected by younger generations. Giving your employees the digital tools and training they need helps empower and engage your staff.
  • Workplace diversity – Diversity is an important factor in today's society, and prioritizing workplace diversity should be something you strive for. Gen Z is the most diverse generation of Americans yet, and they expect to be represented in their respective workplaces.

While You Focus on Personnel, We'll Provide the Prospects

While you're focusing on gaining and retaining employees, on-going personnel training, and the myriad of responsibilities that go along with a dealership, why not take some of the workload off your plate? Let Auto Credit Express help you bring more prospects through your doors so your staff can focus on sales!

We're an award-winning provider of subprime leads, and have been for over 20 years. Let us bring our knowledge and expertise to your store, and provide you with prospects that are ready to take the next step as serious buyers. Plus, we can now provide quality new and used car leads through our partnership with CarsDirect Connect!

High-quality leads aren't all we offer either. To see how we can help your store, simply fill out our online contact form so we can reach out to you, or give us a call at 888-535-2277 to join our growing network of dealer partners.