The “serious” problem of recruitment for the kitchen and bathroom industry requires short and long-term solutions said managing director of KBBG Bill Miller.
In an exclusive video interview with Kitchens & Bathrooms News, he exclaimed: “We’ve got to come up with some answers quickly because this problem is only going to get worse; it won’t get better by itself.”
For the longer-term, he said the industry must attract younger people and commented: “It is perhaps a sad inditement that we haven’t done a good enough job in making our industry attractive enough.”
Miller stated younger people “see our industry as dull, boring, grey, not very exciting or perhaps they don’t even think about our industry and that must change.”
He exclaimed: “That is not healthy because who are going to be the entrepreneurial business owners of the future?”
Recognising the scale of the issue, Miller said it won’t be an easy problem to fix and will take all industry stakeholders, coming together, to create a gameplan for attracting younger people into kitchens and bathrooms.
However, he exclaimed there is also a short-term recruitment problem as many showrooms are seeking additional staff to deal with an uplift in work following lockdowns.
Miller said he believed experienced kitchen and bathroom designers are either not available or “few and far between” and so the KBBG is encouraging its showroom members to train people from other industries.
He said: “On one hand, it’s quite an attractive proposition because it’s bringing new blood into our industry but of course it puts terrific pressure on the retailer to train someone who has never sold kitchens.
“To try and help that process, what we’ve introduced over the last few months are some online training modules that we’ve been working with Simon Acres group to put together.”
Using a combination of written and video content, the modules “take someone through the basic steps of a sale” and have been designed to help retailers train staff, providing certification at the end of the course.
The KBBG offers a variety of sales courses spanning basic, intermediate and expert and is urging all its members, bringing people into their business, to use the courses as part of the training process.
“We are already getting positive feedback about it, so it seems to be working”, exclaimed Miller.