Top 5 Dealership Hiring Trends for 2024

February is known as the month of love — but dealerships across the country are committed to sticking to the same hiring routines that regularly leave them brokenhearted.

What little talent is on the automotive hiring market is scooped up quickly. Outdated and tedious hiring processes only send applicants onto the next job opening for a rebound. And don’t get us started on all the ghosted interviews!

Based on the responses of dealership HR leaders, recruiters, and hiring managers, we’ve compiled a list of automotive industry hiring trends, challenges, and solutions to fall back in love with your dealership’s hiring process. Read on to learn more.

Top 5 dealer employment trends for 2024

We talked to the people who are in the weeds every day at dealerships nationwide to learn more about what their current hiring issues are and how we could help them navigate these obstacles. 

Hiring is still hard

This shouldn’t be surprising to hear, but hiring is expected to continue being difficult into 2024. At the end of 2023, 88% of dealerships agreed that hiring is somewhat or extremely challenging still. 

There are a few reasons behind this ongoing issue, including the technician shortage, an aging workforce, lack of young talent entering the workforce, and more. Dealerships have their work cut out for them when it comes to making their job posts stand among the variety of options qualified talent have available to them, 

How Hireology helps: 

The Hireology applicant tracking system allows for dealers to create and implement proactive recruitment strategies instead of hiring traditionally in a reactive way. Dealerships who partner with Hireology are able to create their own talent pools to tap into when openings occur to use in addition to their other recruitment methods. This database allows dealers to nurture and maintain relationships with qualified previous applicants, alumni, and referred candidates while keeping everything from candidate profiles to candidate communications all organized in one place.

Auto technicians are still the hardest role to fill

In our 2024 State of Automotive Hiring survey, over half (54%) of dealers indicated that auto technicians are the hardest roles to fill — which is terrible news for those relying on fixed operations to balance their budgets instead of moving metal from the lot. While inflation is not rising at the pace it has been and consumers are still purchasing goods, new auto sales were down 4.2% in Q4 2023 compared to Q4 2022 according to Cox Automotive Forecast. And it’s not just the lack of candidates applying for these roles; there is a notable absence of quality applicants on the market as well.

How Hireology helps:

Given the hand that dealerships have been dealt in the current hiring market, it’s important that they can spend their hiring dollars wisely — but that can be difficult to do if you don’t have an easy way of accessing and analyzing your hiring data. 

With Hireology Insights and Analytics, you can easily analyze each recruitment and hiring step to highlight process trends, opportunities to improve, and ROI. By looking at the quality of candidates produced by each recruitment channel, you can tap into the highest sources of quality auto technician candidates for your dealership. With the ongoing technician shortage, it’s critical to find ways for your dealership to make smarter recruiting and hiring decisions based on data in order to gain a competitive edge in the hiring market.

Training programs are the most common employee benefit

Given how scarce automotive talent is, it makes sense that training programs are the most common employee benefits offered at dealerships. After all, everyone wins in that exchange — the employee gains knowledge and experience to expand their skill set while the dealer has just created another qualified auto technician candidate for their open roles. 

The issue here is that when everyone offers the same benefit, no one really stands out. Training programs have become table stakes in the automotive industry, along with good workplace culture. In order to stand out, dealers need to offer other employee benefits to sweeten the pot and become more attractive to candidates. 

How Hireology helps:

We can’t perform magic here — you’re not going to be able to offer your auto technicians the option to work remotely on vehicles. What Hireology does really well, however, is provide unparalleled insight into the modern automotive worker with our annual job seeker study. These findings from these surveys help our dealership clients stand out from the hiring competition with unique employer value propositions that job seekers actually want.

Hiring moves fast

It can be hard to come by qualified talent in the automotive industry, so when dealers see an amazing candidate, they move fast. Recent Hireology data showed that 58% of dealers run hiring processes as fast as two weeks — that’s just 14 days from the application being received and an offer being accepted! If your dealership can’t meet that pace, you’re missing out on the best talent on the market. In our 2023 State of Automotive Hiring Report, we found that 61% of automotive job seekers accept the first job offer they receive, while 45% will accept the second. There aren’t a lot of qualified auto technician candidates on the market and they know how valuable they are to the industry, making it hard for dealers who run clunky and convoluted hiring processes.

How Hireology helps:

With decentralized, multi-location businesses like dealerships, hiring can get messy fast. The hiring managers at each location have other duties they need to perform (and likely enjoy more than interviewing). 

With traditional hiring, it’s hard to hold everyone accountable across all of your rooftops — but with Hireology, you have transparent insight into hiring analytics at all of your locations, organized in one place. You can easily identify bottlenecks and where they occur in your hiring process, along with process adherence by hiring managers. The Hireology platform makes hiring easier and faster for everyone involved thanks to several key automations that eliminate tedious, time-consuming tasks from your hiring team’s shoulders.

Dealers are hesitant to embrace AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) may have taken the world by storm last year, but the automotive industry is keeping it at arm’s length instead of embracing it. In our recent study, less than a third (30%) of dealers feel that they truly understand the possible impacts of AI when it comes to hiring. A slightly larger percentage (36%) said they are somewhat to very uncomfortable with the idea of using AI in recruitment at all. 

How Hireology helps:

Hireology can’t necessarily change someone’s mind about AI and its usefulness in recruiting, but we can do the next best thing: serve as a reliable source of relevant AI and recruitment news. We don’t know where the future of AI will take recruiting, but we have projected future enhancements in The Future of AI Recruitment in Retail Automotive, a guide on smarter, more efficient hiring through AI. Our platform also has some in-app AI capabilities, like a job description generator.

Takeaways for 2024

In a lot of ways, hiring has stayed the same — but it has changed significantly at the same time over the last few years. Based on general consensus, it appears that in 2024, dealerships will need to find ways to proactively recruit talent for their open positions, focus on hiring quality automotive talent instead of quantity, and improve their hiring speeds if they want to hire the talent they need.

Not all applicant tracking systems are built equal. Schedule a demo to see why Hireology empowers 1 in 4 dealerships to hire better talent faster today!

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