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Motorcycle Industry’s Urgent Need for Young Workers

The motorcycle industry urgently needs more young people to work as technicians, sales people and in other roles – that was the unequivocal message from Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) boss Tony Campbell, who underlined the need for younger entrants to create a stable future.

“The challenges we face in attracting young people to work in the sector are the same we face in attracting new and younger riders,” he commented. Referring to the ageing demographic of motorcycling he added: “Over the past two decades, we have been great at servicing an ageing rider community; this in large part is mirrored by our workforce. In my view, we have an identity problem when it comes to attracting young talent to the industry.” He also pointed out that a shortage of skilled technicians has led to higher salaries and staff turnover, both of which add to dealer overhead costs.

In a move to attract younger people into the industry, the MCIA teamed up with recruitment firm BikeJobs and the National Motorcycle Dealers Association (NMDA), with a Careers Hub stand at Motorcycle Live last November. It attracted 150 enquiries, 21.5% of whom were from young women. Most of those interested (78%) were under 30 while the biggest age group (28%) was the 17-20-year-olds.

Symon Cook, head of the National Franchised Dealers Association, told MCN that he was also very concerned about the skills shortage, thinking it could deal the industry a fatal blow. “It’s going to fail and it’s going to disappear and that’s certainly not what any of us want,” he said. “We’re behind the times and within the next two years we need to really accelerate our idea of how we recruit and how we drive an interest in the motorcycle industry.”

Chair of the BMF, Jim Freeman, echoed those comments: “ The bedrock of the relationship between riders and the trade lies in the service department, recognising that and developing it is vital. Buying a bike is easy, what keeps the relationship going is the service department, not all riders are capable of DIY maintenance, despite the popular image.”

Written by Peter Henshaw

Top image courtesy of Centennial College

In article image courtesy of Zimbrick