Autotech Recruit has revealed that ‘job gazumping’ is having a big impact on the automotive aftermarket industry. Due to pressing factors – such as the skills shortage that has been affecting the industry over recent years – just how much is the gazumping phenomenon impacting the sector?

More than half (55.36%) of participants involved in the targeted study, carried out by the MOT testers and vehicle technicians recruitment specialists, said that they’ve previously been offered a higher salary to persuade them to stay in their role after receiving a new job offer – and proposed salaries will need to be competitive in order for them to accept the counter-offer.

The study found that many companies will offer more than just money in order to persuade employees to stay in their roles, such as extra training, flexible hours, more holiday and a promotion.

Automotive expert Vikki Little understands why these companies are only offering higher salaries and perks after an employee has found a job elsewhere, as she explains: “The automotive industry operates on tight margins and there is always a keen eye on keeping costs to a minimum. This is further exacerbated by the high costs associated with operating a dealership and the financial demands placed on these businesses.

“In the current climate, where there is a level of uncertainty over future trading conditions and the new car market is down, higher salaries and extra perks on not given lightly.

“However, employers are well aware of the disruption to the business and team and financial cost in losing staff and recruiting a replacement, and are therefore likely to agree to give a pay rise and/or additional perks when faced with a member of the team who is going to leave to take another job (often with a competitor).

“It’s a short-term view, born out of the increasing pressures faced by businesses in the industry, coupled with a very challenging market and historical practices.”

Almost half of respondents (41.76%) to the AutoTech survey were offered up to £2,000 to stay in their role, compared to 21.9% of respondents who were offered between £2,001 and £5,000. However, just 5.49% of respondents were offered a salary increase of more than £5,000 – suggesting that whilst employers are willing to pay out for their talented staff, not many are willing to rise above £2,000 to entice them to stay.

What is the cause for job gazumping in the aftermarket industry?

Well, many participants of the survey believe it’s due to the skills shortage; more than half of respondents (59.72%) said that their employer offered them a higher salary to stay in their position as they felt they would be unable to find someone with the same level of experience, training or qualifications. Further, some respondents answered that they appealed to their employers due to their flexibility, so were perceived as too good to lose (6.94%).

Little believes the skills shortage is down to a lack of skilled people entering the industry in the first place. She says: “We’re not attracting people with the necessary skills into the industry; it’s not seen as a positive career choice and often people join the industry simply because they need a job and not because they are looking for a career in which they want to progress.”

How can employers keep skilled staff?

Keeping a skilled staff member on board needs to be an ongoing process and not a snap decision when they start to look for another job. Little, drawing on her experience in this industry, says: “It is essential for businesses to understand the importance of staff retention and the procedures that need to be in place to motivate and retain staff who perform well. A programme of regular appraisals, performance reviews and training is essential, in order to meet the needs of both employees and the business.

“This is particularly important for those members of the team who have demonstrated potential and have the ability and attitude to progress within the business. We must help people gain the skills and experience they need for their next role, in order them to achieve their potential and deliver for their employer. This can include job-based mentoring from within the business, as well as appropriate external training and development, which may be developed for an individual or particular role.”