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The Rise of the Robots


We are all finding it more difficult to identify and attract talented people within the Fashion industry and then persuade them to make a career move to a new employer, despite there being valid career or experience enhancement reasons for them doing so.

There’s a general feeling in the industry at the moment that recruiting is tough, and here’s why…

Unemployment is at the lowest level for over 40 years…

  • According to the ONS the unemployment figure fell to just 4% in July 2018, obviously this is a national figure across all sectors but it does go some way towards explaining why the immediately available talent pool has all but dried up.

Applications have dried up…

  • Again across all sectors, Adzuna reported that the average number of applicants per job advertised is just 0.38 which means nearly 2 in 3 jobs advertised aren’t even getting a response.

We are certainly seeing this in Fashion, where online job adverts, even on traditional industry specific sites, are poor and sometime yield no applicants at all. It also seems to substantiate what we have all been thinking in recent years that the majority of candidates now adopt a “come get me” attitude to job hunting, rather than actively applying for jobs.

Movement is sluggish…

  • Looking at our own salary survey over the last 3 years it is clear that there has been little movement in salaries on like for like roles. Maybe this tells us more about the lack of mobility of talent in the industry, rather than the state of the market, although history does tell us that after a constant 12 month period of a skills shortage salary’s start to creep up. This is mainly because employers are desperate to fill a gap and use cash to incentivise people to join them, the ripple effect of this is surprisingly rapid when it starts and probably one we should keep a close eye on – If you haven’t already got one let me know and I will send you a copy of People Marketing Fashion Recruitment -2018 Salary Survey.

The rise of the Robots…

  • Obviously nothing ever stands still, and roles change – new skills and jobs are emerging all the time and according to the Bank of England’s Chief Economist last year, 15 Million UK jobs will be replaced by Robots. I’m not sure that is the case for the fashion industry but we have seen a skills shift in some areas. For instance according to Adzuna in July 2018 retail job vacancies were down by over 21%  year on year which was almost a mirror image of the figure in increased job vacancies within Digital or Online Marketer roles.

So you are right in thinking recruitment is tough. To recruit talent to grow your businesses we all have to change the way we recruit and here’s what you can do:

  • Reduce reliance on traditional advertising methods and replace it with networking and referrals.
  • Engage with niche recruitment businesses that understand exactly what you are looking for and know where to find them,
  • Most importantly when you find new staff members, make sure you keep them, Employee Engagement is becoming more and more important, this reminded me of a really useful piece we put together last year on the subject.

As ever, if there is anything we can help with, be it advice on recruiting, retaining staff or help growing your team then please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Doug Jameson
Managing Director

Contact Details:
Tel: 0330 335 0190

Posted by: People Marketing Fashion Recruitment