Is Retail Facing a Digital Hiring Problem?

Discussion
Jul 01, 2013

According to search firm 24 Seven Inc., one in four digital jobs in the fashion and retail industry have been left unfilled for five years or more, reflecting the challenges of recruiting and retaining digital talent.

"It’s a very disruptive time in the industry, and the competition for digital talent isn’t just between retailers and fashion companies," Celeste Gudas, president of 24 Seven, told Women’s Wear Daily. "It’s with Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley, pockets in other cities, Google and eBay, just to name a few. It’s not just that the competition is fierce, but in today’s market, everything is transparent. Retail and fashion companies really need to get a hold of talent management."

Ms. Gudas’ comments came as 24 Seven’s 2013 Salary and Job Market Report found that 89 percent of digital talent say they’re open to making a career move within the next year. Salary tops the list of reasons to move with 72 percent of digital talent citing higher base salaries among their top reasons to change jobs, followed by better growth potential (51 percent), improved quality of life (34 percent) and better advancement opportunities (33 percent).

The 24 Seven report indicated that one issue is that the retail industry continues to offer traditional benefit packages (i.e., medical, dental, discounted merchandise, life insurance and 401k plans), but life balance benefits dominate the priorities for digital workers. Digital talent’s most desired benefits include: medical (76 percent); summer hours/comp days (33 percent); flex time/telecommuting (26 percent); 401k with match (17 percent); international travel (8 percent).

Ms. Gudas believes more competitive benefits offerings would particularly help in recruiting such talent. She said in a statement, "Retail leadership must consider each of their talent touch points — compensation, career development and traditional and soft benefits — to establish an attractive employment brand that drives job satisfaction and loyalty."

How can retailers do a better job recruiting and retaining top digital talent? Are retail benefits antiquated compared to other industries? Do you think the apparent challenge attracting digital talent is holding back retail’s omni-channel push?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

7 Comments on "Is Retail Facing a Digital Hiring Problem?"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Ralph Jacobson
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

As with many retailers and CPG companies struggling to adapt their marketing functions—especially digital marketing—to the changing marketplace, so to are the job descriptions to drive these functions. One interesting point is that I have found that the job titles of these roles are very inconsistent across companies. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that these roles are not consistently defined in both retail and CPG. I know that digital marketing spend, alone (versus the entire marketing budget) will exceed all IT spend by 2015.

Companies need to define their strategy for these roles and develop consistent objectives when hiring people to fill these roles.

Mel Kleiman
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

If you want to hire top talent at any level you have to be able to ask yourself one question. Why should top talent want to work for you? Then see if you can come up with a real list of 10 reasons why a STAR employee would want to come to work for your organization and maybe even more importantly, why they would want to work for the person who will manage them.

Just one other point. It is not about the money. Money is not a key motivator, but the lack of money is a key demotivator. Give employees or offer new employees the other 5 key drivers and they are not going to leave for more money unless it is a lot more money.

Adrian Weidmann
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

Retailers and brands tend to lean too heavily on their agencies for all things digital. Given the challenges with designing and implementing a holistic cross-channel marketing solution in concert with their omni-channel push, retailers need to reach out to seasoned executives that can advise and guide a broader solution. Leveraging consultants that can bridge the marketing and IT divide can also bring insights and guidance that are not encumbered by political agendas. Solutions can be designed and activated to the benefit of corporate shareholders and their customers. Adding ‘digital’ expertise at entry and middle management positions will not drive change.

Lee Kent
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

Having been in this great industry for over 35 years, I have seen just about every corporate title face this issue. Just out of college back then, I was a technology person and that was the rage of the day! Everyone wanted computer people, so I could have worked anywhere. I chose retail!

Why? Not because of the salary. It was good, but I could have gotten a few more dollars elsewhere. I loved the job I would be doing, I loved the discount, and I loved the glamor and pace of retail!

Yeah, I know, young people and especially creatives, want more these days because other companies have figured out how to give them more. And yes, retail could do a lot better in offering their employees a few more perks that won’t break the bank.

But bottom line, I think there will always be those of us who simply love the job we’re going to be doing and love retail! They got all of us didn’t they?

Carlos Arámbula
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

Retailers can do a better job by having a training and development program in place.

Unlike other job functions in the retail industry, the digital category is dominated by Millennials, it is extremely fluid and progressive, and there are plenty of jobs in other industries. This situation is not unique to the retail industry so there is the benefit of “best practices” that can be studied.

The use of free-lancers, while it provides an immediate solution, is not a long term solution and contributes to employee turn-over (why stay as a full-time employee if you make more money, have more flexibility, and learn from different employers and managers while freelancing?).

Martin Mehalchin
Guest
Martin Mehalchin
8 years 10 months ago

This is an uphill battle for retailers for sure, but we’re seeing some making progress. One key thing about digital talent is that when they jump to a traditional industry they want to be working with companies that are leaders. This means that they want to be using the latest technologies to drive an industry forward and will be less interested in helping their employer play “catch-up”.

Companies like Nordstrom and Macy’s that are leading the move to omnichannel have put serious efforts into merchandising themselves as credible tech employers and have leveraged their office locations in digital hubs to attract some top talent. Companies that are farther behind the curve and not located where the talent is may find it more cost effective to “rent” the digital capabilities from a service provider rather than build it in house.

Mike Osorio
Guest
Mike Osorio
8 years 10 months ago

This will be a tough area for most retailers, particularly in the U.S. where benefits must typically be the same for all employee classes. Digital workers are indeed a different breed and must be courted by both the coolness of the work and the perceived coolness of the retail brand and/or category — hard to do for most retailers.

This, however, is not just a challenge for attracting digital workers, it is about attracting young, capable talent for all roles. Retailers must apply thier marketing muscle inward and redesign their employer brand to be attractive and authentic to the most talented of this next generation of worker.

wpDiscuz

Take Our Instant Poll

To what degree do retail compensation and benefit plans compare to emerging tech and other industries?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...