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Dealers’ recruitment trends reflect industry growth

NFDA 25/08/2021

  • NFDA HR survey shows positive trends for dealers employing in total more than 40,000 peopl
  • Franchised dealers looking to recruit across most business areas in next three months
  • Apprentices back on top of dealers’ agenda

The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) has published the latest edition of its ‘HR Survey’ exploring franchised dealers’ plans and views on a range of employment issues in automotive retail including their recruitment plans, employee engagement and performance review activities, and apprenticeships. The responses covered 1,115 dealerships and a total of 41,448 employees.


Overall recruitment plans: the percentage of dealers’ looking to recruit across all business areas is significantly up from Q2 this year. In particular, 77.5% are seeking to recruit sales executives over the next three months and the same percentage intend to employ technicians. Additionally, 67.5% intend to hire service advisors*.

Employee engagement: all dealers who engaged with the survey perform employee engagement activities, with 75% of respondents undertaking them annually or more frequently. 

Performance development reviews: the majority of dealers (72.7%) undertake performance development reviews at least once a year.

Apprenticeship levy and apprentice recruitment: 75% of dealers who responded to the survey plan to use the funds from the apprenticeship levy in the next 12 months. Dealers’ intentions to recruit apprentices over the next three months are encouraging: 67.5% are looking to recruit apprentice technicians (compared to 36.9% in Q2 this year), 35.0% sales apprentices (9.2% in Q2 2021) and 22.5% bodyshop apprentices (as opposed to 7.7% earlier this year).

Sue Robinson, NFDA Chief Executive, commented: “The latest findings of our HR survey revealed a number of positive trends within the employment sector, with dealers intending to hire across all business areas.

“The challenges faced by businesses over the past months indicated the need for employers to communicate more frequently with staff and it is encouraging to see the majority of dealers undertake employee engagement activities and performance reviews on a regular basis.

“Dealers are increasingly looking to recruit a diverse skillset to respond to the trends facing our sector, from electrification, to the growing involvement of technology. NFDA’s employment initiative Drive My Career continues to support members by raising awareness of the career opportunities available in automotive, promote the positive aspects of a career in our sector and sending young people to dealers’ career pages.

“Attracting and retaining talented people is key to the success of our industry and we will continue to work closely with our members to assist them with their recruitment efforts”.

NFDA runs a highly focused HR Working Group that meets every quarter to discuss the most pressing employment issues facing dealers. If you would like more information, please email

For more information about Drive My Career and if you have any specific vacancies you would like to promote, please email

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*Please see here further details about dealers’ recruitment plans in the next three months.

About the RMI

The Retail Motor Industry represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services to motorists and businesses. The RMI has a formal association with the independent Scottish Motor Trade Association which represents the retail motor industry in Scotland.