Retail in Asia

Demand for luxury and retail talent in Singapore continue to grow despite slowing market

Front line retail staff in the luxury sector continued to be highly sought-after in Singapore, according to human resource consulting firm Randstad. The HR service provider said some luxury brands have begun hiring talent from mass market and fast fashion brands due to a shortage of good candidates in the sector.

Luxury brands are interested in candidates with new and unconventional ideas, particularly those who have strong networks of high net-worth clients, customer relationship management (CRM) expertise, as well as candidates with high-end customer service backgrounds.

"Slowing economic growth, dwindling tourism and evolving consumption patterns have strained the retail industry in Singapore. Despite this, overall sentiment around luxury and retail is generally positive. According to a report from PwC, sales growth in the region will be the fastest globally over the next five years, averaging 8.5 percent in monetary terms and 4.6 percent in average volume," Randstad said in a press release on Wednesday.

Due to evolving market conditions, luxury brands in the city are seeing the importance of growing local Singaporean clientele and ramping up their offerings to provide an increasingly tailored and exclusive shopping experience.

"This new focus has sparked a demand for a new generation of roles which include in-store clientele development specialists, clientele development managers, VIP managers, personal shoppers and boutique directors," said Randstad.

Employees of both frontline and back end operational roles can expect a pay raise ranging from 1 to 5 percent in 2016. Candidates that are coming in at regional roles or in areas where there is a talent gap will be able to command pay increases of around 18 percent when moving to a new employer.

With the evolving landscape and emergence of new talent gaps, attracting and retaining the best talent is increasingly becoming a key focus for the luxury and retail industry.

"More often than not, companies tend to associate consumer branding with employer branding, thinking that the consumer brand will attract and retain the best talent. As consumer and employer branding do not always equate, luxury and retail companies have to focus on their employer branding," said Alston Tan, Luxury and Retail specialist consultant at Randstad Singapore.

With the growing importance of work-life balance, some companies have been focusing on offering their staff increased flexibility with work hours.

Career progression is also an important factor that employees are taking into consideration. Some brands are strongly committed to promoting people from within their organizations, even if it means rotating them across different job functions.

Others give frontline retail staff the opportunity to move into back-end operational roles, provided there are suitable opportunities available.

Salary structures are also being relooked as brands put more effort into remaining competitive in order to attract the top talent from this industry to join them.