The number of job vacancies in the UK between September and November stood at 1,187,000 – revealing the extent of the challenge the automotive industry faces in recruiting the right people, says Fraser Brown of automotive consultancy MotorVise.
Released this month (December), these Office for National Statistics figures highlight the level of competition that dealerships face from multiple sectors that are often more attractive to job seekers.
A skills gap and an inability to recruit young people remain a problem for the automotive industry – as it tries to replace those employees who lost their jobs at the height of the pandemic and who failed to return once dealerships fully reopened.
I’ve previously argued that the sector needs to make itself more attractive to prospective applicants through a better work-life balance. By investing in training and developing a more customer-focused approach, such roles become more attractive, offer greater career progression, and attract a more diverse and wider talent pool.
I’m already hearing such comments as ‘it’s harder than ever to recruit’ and ‘all the workers have disappeared’ in my discussions with automotive employers up and down the country.
Conversely one person I know who is applying for jobs tells me that, in their experience, it’s harder than ever to connect, with many of their applications remaining unanswered.
Perhaps this is down to the recruitment process and an increasing overreliance on impersonal online recruitment platforms.
Some employers allow their department managers to post vacancies directly onto these automated platforms, which can then go unchecked for weeks. It’s time for employers to remember that behind every application is a human being, and everyone deserves a prompt reply and to be treated with respect.
On the flip side, online recruitment platforms enable candidates to invest as little time as possible in making multiple applications, some of which they are not always suitable for or interested in.
The net effect is that rather than streamlining the recruitment process, such platforms create a huge amount of wasted time for employers and applicants alike. The truth is that all humanity has been removed – at the very time this industry needs to engage and invest in connecting with job seekers on a more personal level.
As someone experienced in delivering automotive recruitment events capable of delivering people with the right attitudes and skill set, I see the value of engaging with applicants in a way that is empathetic and treats them as people rather than just numbers.
Therefore, dealerships would benefit greatly from treating job applicants the same way as they would their customers.