Vacancies have risen to an all-time high in the North East retail motor industry. Ingenia Recruitment, who are motor trade recruitment specialists, have seen a year-to-date increase in vacancies of 95% up to the end of August 2021.

We currently have over 115 vacancies, predominantly in the North East of England, and strictly in the retail motor trade.

As expected, productives are still the highest in demand, however, our problem is no longer just finding Vehicle Technicians, Panel Beaters, Painters and MET’s. Applications have died down in all sectors and we are hearing the same story from most companies (not just in the motor trade), of not being able to find staff. Unfortunately, we have never known so many people leave the trade than we have in the last 15 months.

We have seen spectacular salary increases in many different roles over the past few months, in order to attract people into the industry. In many recent cases, employers propose a job offer and when the candidate hands in their notice, their current employer just increases their salary to keep them in the business.

Steve Shaw, Director of Ingenia Recruitment, said: “Well the inevitable has happened… We have recently taken a vacancy for a Vehicle Technician that is paying a basic salary of £40,000. And, it won’t stop at this. This company has actually increased the salary of this job 33% in the space of a few months.

This is all self-inflicted by the industry itself. The question is, where does it all end? Service departments can pass the increased wage costs onto their customers, but at what price point do customers move to specialist independents for their servicing and repairs? Bodyshops, on the other hand, have to work with the rate given by their work providers, do they absorb the cost and reduce profits or stop working with some insurance companies?

Work providers may well come to the party and increase their rates, but that will of course be passed on in the form of increased insurance premiums. This, in turn, could lead to more people risking driving with no insurance, as they cannot afford the higher premiums. As an industry, we have saved money in the past, but at what cost in the future?”