Attracting and Retaining Automotive Aftermarket Employees in 2021 and Beyond

Monday, August 23, 2021

By Kirsten Zaremba, senior director, marketing, Auto Care Association 

Automotive aftermarket wage averages continue to break records with June 2021 being another record month for non-supervisory employee wages. On the retail side, parts store employees on average made $18.61 per hour, 7% higher than June 2020, while tire dealer employees made $20.38, up 9.6% from June 2020. Parts manufacturing employees earned $23.68 per hour, 15% higher than in June 2020. The jury is still out if simply increasing wages is the way to successfully retain and attract new employees in this highly competitive and challenging market.  

According to one Gallup report, “While overall compensation is still extremely important to nearly half of younger employees, it falls below opportunities to learn and advance, quality of their manager and having interesting work.”  LinkedIn’s “2021 Workplace Learning Report” highlights the changing role of learning and development leaders in an organization as they become more strategically important. 

Without a doubt, we’ve all learned a lot this year, but having a strong ongoing effort that helps your organization with resilience, flexibility and digitization will be key to your future success. And remember, you will see returns.  Investing in your employees makes them more likely to invest in you, making them more likely to stay. If you need any additional encouragement, retention also increases customer satisfaction. A Glassdoor study from 2019, for instance, found that each one-star gain in a company’s employee satisfaction rating predicted a 3.2-point improvement in customer satisfaction.

Not only are learning and development opportunities important to your ability to stay ahead of the curve and to your employees looking for growth opportunities, they also offer the chance to reinforce your organizational mission and your corporate culture. “One-third of global employees strongly agree with the statement, ‘The mission and purpose of my organization makes me feel my job is important.’”  Employees on the job hunt want to have a connection to your organization and your mission. A great place to start is to show them your pride in our dynamic and resilient industry. As an industry, we are essential; as an organization you are essential and your employees need to understand how they contribute. Consistent recognition of accomplishments balanced with empathy and understanding of life’s difficulties will go a long way toward forging that connection and pride in what your employees do. 

If you’re doing all of these things, then you should make sure you are using them in your recruitment efforts. One way to do that is to leverage more advanced recruitment methods such as programmatic advertising or creation of job posting videos. Video is an excellent way to not only personalize your posting, but helps you provide key insights into your culture, advancement possibilities and competitive benefits. Programmatic advertising helps your listing by providing an extended reach across the web to stay in front of those viable candidates. April Dunnett, account manager of the Auto Care Careers Job Board, says that job posting sites, social media, LinkedIn, videos and retargeting provide the best opportunity to interest potential employees and sell them on the role they can play in your organization. Dunnett also points out, “The best resource for qualified candidates is to use industry targeted job boards which provide an exclusive resource for you and for candidates. The Auto Care Careers Job Board should be one of your first options to access the industry resume database and to post your open positions.”

It’s worth saying again

Bringing your employees to AAPEX 2021 is a great way to reinforce their impact and contribution to this essential industry, which can provide long-term retention benefits. It’s also a prime place to network and discover leads for highly skilled and dedicated candidates. Plus, the business management training will refresh your skills in the areas of employee retention and career path programs, and improving communication and building teamwork. If you haven’t registered yet, don’t wait another minute. Register now

Kirsten Zaremba is the senior director of Marketing at the Auto Care Association. In her current role, Kirsten is responsible for leading the Auto Care Careers program efforts, supporting member engagement and acquisition initiatives, driving sales of products and services and building association authority.