MRAA launches retail compensation study

The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA) has embarked on a study of North American retail compensation programs as part of a multi-faceted effort to provide solutions for the marine industry’s workforce crisis.

The study, which launched last week, invited more than 3,000 retail outlets in the United States and Canada to participate, asking them to provide certain demographic and compensation-related information. It follows a Workforce Assessment project conducted by MRAA, which outlined that – among other factors – one of the largest issues the marine industry faces in hiring and retaining employees is its ability to compete with the compensation rates of other industries.

“The fact is that our industry just does not have a complete picture of the types of compensation programs or the compensation levels that our retailers are offering,” said Matt Gruhn, president of MRAA. “But we can’t really define the problem, let alone offer any possible solutions, until we have a complete understanding of our current situation. This study will give us that insight.”

The survey itself asks dealers to provide some demographic information, such as geographic location, total revenue category, type of retail operation, employee benefits offered, and service rates, in addition to specific compensation data for 34 common job titles. MRAA partnered with Readex Research, a third-party firm that specializes in self-administered research methods, association research projects, and specifically, salary and benefits surveys to conduct the survey on MRAA’s behalf.

“I’ve personally worked with Readex for a number of years in the publishing industry, and I know how well respected they are,” Gruhn said. “Most importantly, though, our survey participants can rest assured that Readex will handle the sensitive information they collect with the utmost confidentiality. Not even MRAA will see any specific organization’s answers in any other form than the aggregate report.”

The MRAA Compensation Study will remain open for participation until Dec. 15 to give retailers ample time to complete the survey. The results will be shared in three formats in early 2017: an executive summary, an in-depth report, and an online calculator, where retailers can search for compensation information in their specific region.

Those retailers that participate will receive free access to some data and discounts on the larger report. If you’re a retailer and you did not receive an invite but would like to participate in this survey, contact Matt Gruhn at or 763-333-2421.

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