Good people are hard to find. This statement is as old as any other business cliché, but it has never been more of a slap in the face for me than it is today.
I’m writing this blog as I wait for an interview candidate, who is now more than five minutes late for his interview. The assignment we asked him to complete prior to the interview still hasn’t arrived either. I’d love to exhale and simply move on to the next candidate, but our pool of candidates is bleak.
Five weeks ago, we actually hired someone for this position. She came to the Minneapolis Boat Show with us, a full weekend prior to when she was officially going to start. She had every skill and ability we were looking for, in addition to an eager attitude and a get-it-done mentality. She showed up as planned on Monday, was out until Friday with sick kids, and we haven’t seen her since. Vanished.
The best candidate for the position, after we resumed the recruiting process, took another job the day we were to interview her. Now this next interviewee hasn’t shown up, and it’s more than 10 minutes after his scheduled appointment. Don’t most people show up early for an interview?
I realize I’m singing to the choir here when I complain that it’s tough to find quality employees these days. Our members have been challenged to find technicians for a few years now, and the problem is only getting worse.
MRAA has committed itself to finding solutions for these issues. In fact, for the second year in a row, workforce development issues made our list of top issues to be addressed, which was created by the Advisory Council of Marine Associations, a group of trade association leaders who help to set the MRAA legislative agenda.
In 2016, our efforts created the first MRAA Marine Industry Workforce Assessment. It revealed that more than 21 percent of the positions budgeted to be on dealership payrolls went unfilled in the prior year and suggested that our industry could be short some 31,000 retail employees by 2019. MRAA members can download the assessment here.
In the end, dealers pointed to a few main reasons why they are having trouble finding good employees: the generation gap, a poor transition from schools to the workforce, a lack of tech schools to begin with, the seasonality of our business, a lack of employee training, and an inability to compete with the pay scales of other industries. With a mission to provide solutions for some of these issues, MRAA has:
- Held several generation-related topics at the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo. MRAA Retail Members, sign into MRAATraining.com for access to some of these topics.
- Generated a database of marine specific technical schools.
- Been working on a guide to dealership training, to be published as a free member resource later this year.
- And launched a compensation study to give us a better understanding of the pay scales and structures in the marine industry.
The results of the 2017 MRAA Compensation Study are now available for purchase. For just $299, you can access the high-level executive summary; the full, in-depth report; and an online, dynamic salary calculator that will allow you to run an unlimited number of queries on up to 35 job descriptions, broken down by region, dealership size, and more.
Whether they’re training opportunities or customized resources, these are all tools designed to help you compete better in your market place. The only thing we can’t do is force these people to show up for interviews or for work.