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MRAA Releases 2016 Workforce Assessment

Tuesday, November 1, 2016   (1 Comments)
Posted by: Matt Gruhn
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Minneapolis — The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas today released the marine industry’s first comprehensive Workforce Assessment, outlining the issues faced by boat and engine dealers across North America when it comes to hiring, developing and retaining employees.


Featuring insights from 517 respondents, who represented more than 1,300 individual dealership locations, the 2016 MRAA Workforce Assessment delivers 35 pages of statistics and commentary on everything from current staffing demographics to the skill deficiencies of new hires and from dealership training budgets to opinions on why the marine industry has such a difficult time finding and retaining quality employees. This guide is a free download for MRAA members at


What this study tells us is that our industry is facing a workforce crisis unlike it’s ever seen before,” says Matt Gruhn, president of MRAA. “Dealers are operating their businesses at less than 80 percent of their staffing needs, and they expect to need even more employees over the course of the next three years. This problem is only getting worse as Baby Boomers are retiring from the workforce and our industry finds itself needing even more employees in order to support its current growth trajectory."


Responses to the MRAA Workforce Assessment show that more than 21 percent of the positions dealers had budgeted to have on their payrolls in 2016 remain unfilled, and more than 90 percent of dealers have multiple positions unfilled. Coupling those staffing needs with the six additional positions dealers expect to need to fill over the next three years, the study shows that the marine industry could be faced with a deficit of nearly 10 employees per dealership location, or 30,000 total employees — at just the dealer level — in the very near future.


“This report should serve as somewhat of a wake-up call for the marine industry,” Gruhn says. “We’re glad that we finally have real life data to support the anecdotal evidence we’ve had on this problem, but now it’s time to get busy acting on this very specific insight into the challenges that our dealers, and in fact our entire industry face every single day.”


About MRAA

At the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, we believe that for the marine industry to thrive, the companies that interact with the boater in their community must thrive. Those businesses determine the boater’s experience and are the leading factor in the industry’s success. The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas works to create a strong and healthy boating industry by uniting those businesses, providing them with opportunities for improvement and growth, and representing them with a powerful voice. For more information, please visit or call 763-315-8043.


Anthony Cavallo, Hi-Tide Boat Sales & Service says...
Posted Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Well I have been in the Boat business for a few yrs. started in my own business in 1963, but worked on boats with my Dad & older brother, in City Island N/Y, As I see the problem with our Industry is that we don't make enough $ to pay a good tech. or a good sales person, when you spread out the $ then there is not enough to go around so to speak. We need people that like boats, that like to fish, ski, and join clubs that promote boating. Then there is the weather, most of the boating businesses are on the East Coast or Pacific Northwest , and business is only 9.5 mo. per yr. now spread out the $ again you come up short again. We need people that like what they do, and want to be part of it in some way, so they have a future. That's is what I think,

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