MRAA: Industry faces historic workforce crisis

The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas says the marine industry is in an unprecedented workforce crisis.

The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas says the marine industry is in an unprecedented workforce crisis.

The MRAA today released the results of its first workforce assessment, outlining the issues that boat and engine dealers across North America face 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 about why the industry has such a difficult time finding and retaining quality employees.

This guide is a free download for MRAA members here.

“What this study tells us is that our industry is facing a workforce crisis unlike it’s ever seen before,” MRAA president Matt Gruhn said in a statement. “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 that 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 during 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 said. “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.”


KVH Introduces TracPhone LTE-1

The new communications system provides connectivity up to 20 miles offshore in more than 150 countries.

Supreme Builds First Boat in New Facility

The towboat builder moved to the new 160,000-sqare-foot plant in Georgia earlier this year and plans to produce two boats a day.

Continued Growth at Vetus

The manufacturer had its best sales month in its 57-year history and promoted longtime employee Ray Browning to U.K. branch manager.

Suzuki Powers Forest River’s New Nepallo Pontoon Boats

The new Nepallo line of pontoon boats with Suzuki engines will be sold at select Camping World and Gander RV & Outdoors stores.

West Marine CEO to Keynote Annual MRA Event

With a “Climate for Change” theme, the Marine Recreation Association’s Educational Conference and Trade Show is set for Oct. 11-13.

Skeeter Owner’s Tourney Held on Lake Fork

A field of 2,000 anglers in 1,000 boats saw a nearly 10-pound bass capture first place in the annual Skeeter owner’s tournament.

Email Remains a Vital Marketing Tool for Dealers

A content marketing staple, emails can consistently deliver valuable and relevant information, if done correctly.