Norwich-based automotive recruitment specialist Progress Recruitment Solutions (UK) say a recent Garage Wire survey starkly illustrates the challenges many independent garages now face in finding and retaining skilled technicians.
The survey gained 80 responses from six simple questions posed to independent garages during October 2018.
Many of the key findings proved incredibly clear cut – 96 per cent agreed that skilled technicians were ‘very important’ to their business, with nearly three quarters of all respondents voting them ‘vital’.
It’s equally clear that recruiting these people is no longer straightforward; just two per cent found recruitment ‘very easy’.
Though a further seven per cent felt their ‘stable team’ negated the need to search for staff over 90 per cent of garages face varying degrees of difficulty filling technical roles.
Finding the skills
Just over a fifth said they get ‘plenty of applicants’ but often without the required skills.
23 per cent found it ‘difficult’ to hire but usually found the people they needed.
This still left almost half saying ‘we’ve sometimes been unable to recruit the people we need’.
The negative effect on business of skills shortages is compounded by the time it takes in some cases.
15 per cent were usually able to find staff ‘within a month’ with 35 per cent reporting it took between one and two months.
Whilst for exactly half of garages the hiring process typically takes over three months with 26 per cent reporting they operate a continual process of ‘always looking’.
A clear saving grace for independent garages is their relatively stable staffing needs.
Only 14 per cent hire more than two staff a year.
For 49 per cent it’s something they only do only every couple of years, or longer, leaving 37 per cent hiring ‘around once a year’.
Coupled with the difficulty finding and hiring staff comes the lag experienced before they fully contribute.
Though almost half expected staff to be fully operational within a month, 30 per cent said it took up to two months to get up to speed, whilst for 21 per cent the process took anywhere from three months to more than a year.
The final survey question looked at incentives around staff retention.
Of eight different factors a ‘good working environment and facilities’ was voted by far the most important, whilst a bonus scheme was by some distance the least influential.
Competitive basic pay and skills training were ranked second and third ahead of personal rapport and ahead of closely grouped factors like progression opportunities, regular reviews and flexible working.
Commenting on the survey results Laura Rycroft, managing director of Progress Recruitment said: “The results paint a vivid picture of the challenges we know many garages are facing recruiting skilled technicians
“Difficulties finding suitable staff have been building steadily for long period and because many smaller independent garage owners are not recruiting regularly there’s often surprise when old methods like placing a job advert in the local paper simply don’t work anymore.
“It’s interesting to note that many factors ranked as important when it comes to keeping staff are things that don’t have to cost fortunes or, in the case of investing in facilities or training, may have wider business benefits.
“When it does come to recruiting, a specialist agency can help garages navigate today’s greater challenges.
“Progress Recruitment has existing candidate databases, effective talent acquisition channels and proven screening services to not only increase the chances of finding suitable people but also to reduce the time the process takes too.”
To find out more about Progress Recruitment call 01603 717187 or click ‘more details’ below.
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