Recruitment and Retention: The State of the Funeral Industry

February 2009 – Beginning in the summer of 2005, the New York State Funeral Directors Association, Inc. (NYSFDA), assembled a collaboration of six state funeral directions associations (FDAs), including the states of Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts and New York for the purpose of engaging in a longitudinal study of both FDA members and non-members and their employees, by means of a web-based survey.

Between the summer of 2005 and early fall 2008, eight surveys were disseminated by NYSFDA. In each case the data was tabulated, analyzed, and presented to all Funeral Directors Associations and participants by the Siena College Research Institute of Loudonville, New York.

Purpose of the study:

  • To understand the current state of the funeral industry by providing funeral owners and employees to be counted and to express their experiences, attitudes and opinions on significant components of the industry, including job satisfaction, salary, gender and racial dynamics, best practices, and future directions.
  • To investigate issues of recruitment and retention of funeral home owners and employees and, in so doing, provide useful feedback and recommendations to the industry.

This final report summarizes the eight studies. Additionally, this report comments on the state of the funeral industry and drawing from the data, makes recommendations about the future of the industry.

Specifically, this report calls for:

  • Enhanced recruitment of funeral industry employees based upon identifying appropriate candidates and providing them with opportunities for training, advancement, and ownership.
  • Renewed efforts to meet evolving client needs through innovation, modernization, and multi-cultural accommodation; and
  • Efforts to retain the family-like business model so prevalent in the industry while incorporating the growing diversity of employees by gender, race and ethnicity.
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