Are the candidates you want… still available?

Yes.. but that might not be the right question to ask yourself!

Today there is a severe shortage of qualified candidates in every industry. So is that the same in the Aftermarket?

The simple answer is YES and it is a bigger problem than most realise! Why is that?

SMMT report

A report commissioned by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) in 2017, revealed that as the number of cars on the road increases, the number of jobs in the aftermarket area alone is also expected to rise by almost 17 per cent to 400,000 roles by 2020.

Stunted growth

This growth in aftermarket roles could be stunted by a lack of suitable applicants to fill the new positions. Despite the industry continuing to thrive and the number of roles available increasing. It will all be irrelevant if vacancies are left unfulfilled.  According to a 2016 report by the Automotive Council, there were 5,000 jobs vacant in UK automotive industry due to skills shortages. A large proportion of those vacancies were in the aftermarket and the problem has not gone away in 2019.

The recession is still biting!

During the recession, the sector lost many employees with vast amounts of knowledge to other industries. These have not been sufficiently replaced, promotions were often done with cost in mind as the recession bit hard and that has left a very large hole in skills from top to bottom.

Consolidation crisis

The consolidation across the aftermarket has done little to ease the issue and has actually added to the problem. With motor factors reducing BDM’s on the road in favour of  telesales operations, aftermarket manufacturers find it increasingly difficult to find candidates with a suitable grounding point to make the step into the manufacturer world which was once the “holy grail” of the factor BDM.

The growing demand for these suitably experienced candidates, has created a challenging recruitment market for employers. Even small, independent garages are having to use recruitment specialists in a market where talent is difficult to find and attract.

Candidates are in control and they know it!

From a candidates perspective, this is a great, as there are more opportunities to progress and they can earn higher salaries. They are very much aware of their value and many are always open to a move, even after a short tenure in their current role. Leading to the shorter employment dates, more moves you see on a CV  and higher salary expectations.

Counter offer culture

Some aftermarket businesses are doing more to keep their staff, often presenting counter offers if an employee secures a role elsewhere. This however is a short term fix as a huge number of people who accept counter offers still leave the business within 12 months. So the only real thing achieved is increasing the salary bill.

So companies are training more right? WRONG!

The lack of desire or ability to train, creates a revolving door of candidates moving from company to company. Simply because the time and cost of training someone, with transferable skills, the right work ethic and values which match the business but not from the industry, is deemed to time consuming and in some cases too much effort for hiring managers. CIPD reports suggest that UK employers spend less on training than other major EU economies. Retention is key, but so is filling the vacancies which will inevitably arise from the wave of retiring workers.

Next generation

The average age of the aftermarket workforce is rising because of the aforementioned points and some other key factors. The industry needs to be made an attractive option at a young age to ensure that the next generation of talent is enthusiastic about the industry. We also need to be aware of the changing way people purchase products, services and communicate with each other. The rising age in workforce also adds to the resistance in some areas to embrace the ever quicker change and the way that younger employees may operate. Choosing the so called safe hands of veteran employee. This is simply not sustainable and the time bomb continues to tick ever faster.

Electric vehicles

With more and more money and resource being pumped into this sector of the industry and momentum gaining to replace the combustion engine. It is even more important that the industry starts to change the way it views recruitment and who it recruits. The aftermarket will become more and more technology driven and for that to be embraced there needs a severe change in many areas but recruitment and people will be the most important but is often dismissed.

So is the candidate you want still available?

I think the question should really be “Are you hiring the candidate you really need?” 

You may be getting by but could you be doing better? Achieving more? By embracing a different type of candidate?

Your current recruitment model is surviving but it isn’t thriving of that I am sure. So the next time you say to your recruiter… I want x I want y I want z. Think…. is it what I want or what I truly need.

Let’s talk

Let’s discuss how we can help you to utilise our specialist recruitment service and secure the talent you need to drive your business forward. We recruit across Car, Commercial Vehicle and Refinish sectors, UK Wide. We cover every role from entry level to boardroom meaning we are your total aftermarket recruitment solution!

Telephone: 0116 795 115 or email: [email protected]

Don’t forget to visit our website and follow us on LinkedIN and Facebook. 

FFR Automotive – Aftermarket recruitment…only BETTER!


Reference: CIPD – SMMT – Automotive Council – Various industry insights