What car dealership employees earn: Lots of money



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Here’s the tradeoff for employees in the automotive retail sector in the United States: long hours for more money.

A lot more money, actually.

In the recent Automotive News Dealership Salary Survey, automobile retail professionals pulled in an annual average pay of $200,200 last year — nearly three times higher than what the average American made in 2022.

But there was a “but,” the survey showed: That amount of income required devoting a 50-hour-plus workweek. And it reported a significant disparity in pay between men and women in the same field, with men making nearly $219,000 and women making only 66 percent that much — amounting to a yearly difference of $74,300. 

The report’s science is somewhat questionable. Industry trade journal Automotive News noted that it isn’t comprehensive of all dealership employee pay. More managers responded to the survey than employees, and the average respondent had more than 27 years in the industry, indicating higher pay.

Also, the Automotive News Dealership Salary Survey’s respondents were 85 percent male and 13 percent female. Automotive News and partner firm Research + Knowledge = Insights surveyed more than 1,000 franchised dealership professionals from Aug. 1 to Oct. 26 during last year.

Regarding hours, men said that they clocked an average of 52.2 hours a week, and women 49.7 hours. In contrast, the average U.S. employee spent 38.6 hours at work in 2022, according to the latest Census Bureau data shared by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Younger generations struggle with hours, pressure and goals,” a Generation X general manager at a Mercedes-Benz retailer in Ohio said in the survey.

Benefits compensated for some of those issues, however. Nearly two-thirds of the retail employees surveyed reported an employer match or payment into a retirement plan, and at least half reported having workers’ compensation, paid sick leave, family discounts on vehicles, and life insurance. 

About a third said that they believed the industry offered them good career prospects. Multiple respondents also submitted comments noting they entered the business for the money. “I needed a job that paid better than McDonalds, and that was that,” wrote an urban Florida dealer principal at a retailer selling Hyundai, Genesis, Chrysler, Jeep and Subaru vehicles. Among brand types, luxury vehicle dealerships paid on average the highest salaries, with $222,600 expected for their workers in 2023, the survey said.

The full report, including relevant chart data, can be accessed here. A subscription is required.



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