Boat dealers and manufacturers are finding it harder to find good employees as the industry and economy recover.
And nowhere is that tougher than in the service department, according to the latest Boating Industry survey.
The survey was conducted via email in March, with surveys deployed to readers of Boating Industry magazine and enewsletters, including dealers, manufacturers and others working in the industry.
You can see the full results of the survey in the May issue of Boating Industry.
About half of all respondents said the difficulty of hiring and keeping new employees is about the same as it was a year ago, 45 percent said it is more difficult. Only 5 percent said it is easier than it was a year ago.
There was wide variation, though, depending on the type of employees companies were looking to hire. Not surprisingly, service department jobs are proving to be the toughest to fill.
Of those companies that have a service department, 54 percent said it was very difficult to find and keep employees in those jobs. Another 28 percent said it was at least somewhat difficult.
For manufacturers, the situation isn't much easier. Manufacturing openings are also proving to be a challenge, with 35 percent saying it is very difficult to find and keep those employees and 85 percent saying it is at least somewhat difficult.
When it comes to sales, customer service, marketing or marina staff, about a quarter of respondents rated those positions as very difficult.
The easiest jobs to keep filled are for office and support staff, with only 11 percent reporting that is very difficult to find and keep employees in those jobs, and 46 percent said it was not difficult at all.
More than half of those surveyed – 54 percent – have either added staff or are expecting to do so sometime this year.
Of those that are adding employees, the service department is the top target. Seventy-five percent of companies that have a service department plan to add employees there, nearly three times the level of any other department, except for manufacturing.
Of those that do have manufacturing operations, 47 percent have added or either plan to add headcount this year.