Throughout recent times, many retail organisations have felt the brunt of the economic crisis and have been required to adapt to organisational change and enter new markets with ambiguity.
2013 was a year of uncertainty for retail organisations, with many long-standing stores, such as Blockbuster, going into administration. More recently, we’ve seen all big four supermarket groups drop sales as Aldi and Lidl continue to change consumers’ buying habits.
The retail market has changed beyond recognition as there are fewer shops on the high street and consumers are becoming more particular about their shopping preferences.
However, it hasn’t all been doom and gloom for UK retailers. The successful retailers who are still standing today have embraced change and are modifying their practices and policies to improve customer experience, particularly in stores.
Since the recession ended in 2008, retailers have become more dynamic in their consumer attraction strategies, as well as their recruitment processes, and are looking to hire the best talent to drive their business forward – both now and in the future. Retailers are now recruiting candidates with previous experience in store management and the capacity and talent to create a welcoming, professional and eye-catching in-house atmosphere.
As a consequence, demand for talent has certainly increased, especially candidates with specialist skill-sets in buying, merchandising, supply chain, design and e-commerce. Stores are improving their visual merchandising and customer service to create a pleasant and seamless experience for customers. Candidates with store management experience are highly sought after as their skills are easily transferrable across the retail landscape.
As recruitment specialists, we need to ensure that we recruit the right leaders to help drive business growth at all levels. There are a vast range of specialist areas where retailers require top talent, including product, supply chain, corporate functions and store teams.
Looking to other key sectors and business roles is a necessary measure in order to find the individuals who possess the types of skills that businesses need.
However, with the retail sector moving so rapidly, there seems to be less fluidity in the workforce as employees are staying in roles for longer intervals. Employers are continuously being involved in negotiations, with 7 in 10 discussing counter offers with its employees to secure the best talent.
Candidates are increasingly commercially astute wanting a more detailed understanding of the commercial stability of the business, this phenomena is accentuated by the well publicised drop in performance by a number of large retail businesses, such as supermarket giant Tesco. Companies who are able to operate efficient recruitment processes with strong communication to applicants can lessen the impact of this dynamic on their business.
As well as attracting top talent, succession planning and internal talent management, retailers need to have market intelligence when it comes to delivering a strong business and placing candidates for the right reasons.