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MRAA survey seeks industry pay data

The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas is launching a retail compensation survey.

The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas is launching a retail compensation survey, inviting more than 3,000 boat dealerships, service shops, retail outlets and marinas to provide demographic and compensation-related information.

The survey follows a workforce assessment project by the MRAA, which outlined that one of the largest issues the marine industry faces in hiring and retaining employees is competing with the compensation rates of other industries.

This is the first time the marine industry has collected such data, and it’s being done in an effort to address what MRAA president Matt Gruhn calls an unprecedented “workforce crisis.”

Other industries facing technician shortages have collected similar data. The National Business Aviation Association has 11,000 member companies — all of which use airplanes as part of their business for one reason or another.

The average wage of aviation maintenance technicians is $92,865. That figure is the average technician wage, from entry level to senior, and it includes salary plus any bonuses or overtime hours worked. It does not factor in a valuation of benefits.

The marine industry has no technician compensation average to quote to reporters, but anecdotally it is much less than $92,865.

“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,” MRAA president Matt Gruhn said in a statement. “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 asks dealers to provide 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.

The 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 the 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.”

Read more about the workforce issue in the marine industry in the December issue of Soundings Trade Only.

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