The automotive sector’s 20-year high vacancy rate has led to increased demand and greater salaries, research completed by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has found.

The IMI’s Automotive Job Postings Briefing showed the current vacancy rate (number of vacancies per 100 employees) for motor trades is 3.8, representing 20,000 vacancies – slightly below the national rate of 4.1% for all industries.

The rate increased during 2021 and remained at record levels into 2022, although the rates have dipped slightly in the past two months.

Steve Nash, chief executive officer at the IMI, said: “It has been very encouraging to see the steady growth in salaries being offered for automotive professionals.

Steve Nash, chief executive of the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI)“In the past our analysis has highlighted a salary premium for job posts specifically requesting electric vehicle (EV) skills.

“However, this year the high levels of vacancies are across the board, and the urgent need to address the issue, means that all salaries have increased.

“Vehicle technician salaries are now at the same level as salaries advertised for EV job roles.”

Vehicle technicians have seen the largest salary percentage increase in the last six months, with average advertised salaries rising by 5.5% to an average of £34,500. There are now 70% more job posts for this role than in September 2019.

Tyre, exhaust and windscreen fitters have seen the largest salary increases over the three-year period, increasing by 21.3% to an average of £26,600, and the number of jobs advertised is now 45% higher than the same period last year.

Job postings for vehicle and parts sales people have dropped slightly in the past two months but remain 34% up on the last year. Salaries in this role are now 11.5% higher than three years ago.

The latest BDO Salary Survey recently revealed that the car retail sector had delivered record pay rises in 2022 with bonuses and incentives to management soaring by 70% to deliver average remuneration of £407,000.

While wage inflation emerged as another concern for car retailers responding to the recent cost-of-living survey conducted by AM and JudgeService, meanwhile, it appears that many have been able to deliver bumper pay rises while adjusting their working practices to adapt to changing employee expectations.

Nash added: “Whilst over inflated salary expectations can put pressure on employers, it is extremely positive for individuals, especially during the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

“As an industry body one of the most common issues our members raise is how the sector can attract talent and minimise churn.

“With this challenge in mind, it is encouraging to see the industry evolving and salaries rising to reflect the talent and value of motor trade professionals.”


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