In the face of slowing brick-and-mortar growth, Hong Kong’s luxury retail sector is looking outside itself when it comes to new recruits, according to recruitment firm Randstad.
Randstad Associate Director for Luxury, Retail & Consumer, Paul Shelton, said that amidst falling retail sales, coupled with softer economic conditions in China and Hong Kong, luxury retailers are reconsidering their business strategies.
“After a challenging year for many luxury brands, they are now diversifying their hiring criteria to candidates who can offer a fresh pair of eyes and strategic thinking to shift their business direction. In particular, candidates with a background in FMCG fit this bill. These candidates bring with them a tactical and process-driven way of thinking, which retail businesses need to cope with the Hong Kong slowdown,” said Shelton.
Shelton later added that candidates with customer relationship management (CRM) experience are also in high demand.
“In luxury retail, it’s imperative that employees are well-equipped with both the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills required to look after their customers’ needs. Experience in monitoring customer trends, analysing data, and using data to drive marketing strategies will continue to be among the most sought-after skills in the sector.”
“With the falling number of mainland tourists in a market that relies heavily on mainland shoppers spending, it’s more important than ever that retailers focus on driving repeat business especially from VIP customers, which is important in driving growth,” said Shelton.
Demand for candidates with e-commerce skills will also remain high as companies step up their efforts to move their businesses online.
Employers are currently looking for candidates who know how to run online sales platforms and develop back-end e-commerce systems. However a talent shortage in Hong Kong means that they’re hiring senior candidates from overseas.
“Currently the e-commerce scene in Hong Kong lags behind countries like the US, however we expect that employers will begin to hunt for local candidates as the sector matures here,” said Shelton.
However despite the high demand in emerging sectors, the salary outlook for employees working with big luxury brands in 2016 is flat. Employees should not expect a huge salary or bonus in 2016, with any increase likely to be in line with inflation, however marketing directors should see around a 10 per cent jump.
Stagnant salaries are yet another challenge for luxury brands as they attempt to retain their best staff as sales and therefore commissions drop, causing them to move to mid-tier brands seeking more lucrative opportunities.
Shelton advised that there are still great opportunities for jobseekers in luxury brands, however employers need to learn how to incentivise their employees when paying them more is not always an option.
“Employers should look at a range of methods including flexible work hours, training and development opportunities and non-monetary incentives to maintain employee motivation during challenging times,” advised Shelton.
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