MRAA survey tackles workforce compensation

Posted on Written by Reagan Haynes

The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas is listening to dealers who increasingly express concern about a workforce shortage.

After gathering mounting anecdotal evidence that the shortage is reaching crisis mode, the MRAA decided to compile data regarding the situation.

After releasing a report detailing how widespread the problem was, the group is now issuing the results of its compensation survey — the first of its kind in the marine industry.

“The problem is multifaceted — to wrap your head around it is pretty difficult,” MRAA president Matt Gruhn said. “We went through a whole campaign cycle [to elect] our nation’s president, and they were all talking about job creation. We’re not faced with a job-creation challenge today. Our industry, and a lot of other industries, is faced with finding people to fill the jobs.”

Compensation data from roughly 300 dealers, estimated to be about 10 percent of the dealerships in the United States, is detailed in a 35-page report.

Prior to the survey, the industry had compiled no information regarding salaries, bonuses, benefits packages and so forth for 34 positions ranging from service and the front office to F&I and sales.

The data are searchable by position, geographic location, gender, annual revenue total of the dealership and more. About 80 percent of the dealerships that responded earned less than $10 million in revenue.

A wide variety of respondents from around the country weighed in; there was a substantial variation in what service directors earned — an $80,000 difference between the 10th and the 90th percentiles — and less disparity in lower-level positions, such as entry-level service technicians, which were paid $25,000 at the low end and $41,600 at the high end.

Service directors and managers are most likely to be salaried, versus hourly. Service directors are eligible for bonuses at 81 percent of locations; service managers at 72 percent; and shop foremen at 63 percent, the survey found. Fewer than half of locations offer bonus eligibility to each of the other listed service positions.

The survey is available to purchase — $299 for a year of access, with a $50 discount for members and an additional $50 discount for those who participated in the survey.

Contact the MRAA for details about how to access the report.


3 comments on “MRAA survey tackles workforce compensation

  1. Ed Wiser

    This is a nice companion article to the one that recently appeared in the print edition. Problem is that the researchers and writers talk solely to the manufacturers, dealers, and the educators at ABYC. No one has asked any service personnel why we are in the business, or why we might leave, or our opinions about how to fix the shortage or whether the shortage is simply a figment of tight-fisted dealers imaginations. I am a former Army officer, an adjunct professor for the Naval War College, have two masters degrees and a PhD, yet I choose to be a marine electrician over any other option. Ask me why.

  2. James Cote

    My perception is that the vast majority of the employers in our industry are small businesses. Information about average Marine worker pay is about as useful as average river depth is to a barge operator. That being said, today’s media climate has workers terrified not having health insurance (whatever that means). If an industry guild can guarantee “health coverage” it will be a worker magnet that even works across state lines.

  3. Jeff

    I taught marine mechanics for 31 years. What I saw from dealers in my area is they didn’t want to pay any reasonable wage or make an investment to mold a new recruit. Sad! They just want the easy buck!! It’s going to get worse before they ( the owner) realize it.

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