More than 100 candidates fighting over motor trade vacancies as job losses in automotive industry mounts

Time 1 year ago

More than 100 candidates are fighting over some motor trade job roles as redundancies in the industry mount up.

Automotive recruitment agencies have told Car Dealer the current jobs crisis is the worse they’ve ever seen as dealers across the country make huge cut backs.

WeRecruit Auto said it received more than 160 applications for one service advisor role while Ingenia Recruitment said it had spoken to dealers who had been inundated with more than 100 applications for roles.

WeRecruit Auto director Mary Thompson said they had seen a 40 per cent increase in applicants registering with their agency compared to the months prior to lockdown.

Dealer group Pendragon has announced it is cutting 1,800 jobs, Lookers is axing 1,500 and car manufacturers including Aston Martin, Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren, Bentley and others, have all slashed jobs since the lockdown.

Steve Shaw, director at Ingenia, said: ‘At the end of July, the vacancies that we had were 40 per cent down on the same time last year, but this figure does not tell the whole story.  

‘We have had a lot more vacancies from independent dealers and workshops this year, more than any time in the past.

‘In the North East, dealers in particular are shedding quite a lot of staff. I think that we have had at least one call per day for the last month, from someone who has been told that they are going to be made redundant, or that they are possibly going to be made redundant.

‘But so far the cuts are on par with the last recession – but we are not at the end of furlough yet.’

It is thought across the automotive retail industry most dealers are cutting back staff by 20 per cent on average with very few bucking that trend.

Many dealers are finding a hybrid of online sales means they need less sales staff in showrooms.

Business are also using the furlough scheme to cover notice period payments and have accelerated cutbacks as they are asked to contribute from August towards the costs.

Around 730,000 workers have been removed from the payrolls of British companies since March, according to data from the Office for National Statistics this morning.

However, the recruitment agencies said there is hope for job seekers as while many middle management positions are being axed at dealer groups, other areas of the industry are hiring.

WeRecruit Auto’s Thompson said that although currently it’s the worst she’s ever seen, there is still hope.

She said: ‘I started in the industry in 2009 and things were tough then but we think it probably the worst we’ve seen.

‘Back then, I recall a dealer could specify the exact experience they want from a candidate in terms of brand, number of years’ experience, DMS training and it seems to be going in that direction again now. 

‘They can afford to be pickey as the candidates are out there, however it’s also important to remember that attitude is key and a strong candidate can be taught and will adapt.’

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Thompson said that although it is hard now, she thinks things will pick up.

She said: ‘We’re really confident that the jobs will come back. Businesses need some help getting back on track so we’re finding, for example, a business manager may be asked to carry out a sales executive role for a while as they’re inundated with sales enquiries. 

‘It seems that many middle-management roles are being cut back, but eventually when things get back on track they’ll need to bring the support back in otherwise the employees remaining will burn out.’

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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