It’s not the economy. It’s not the competition moving in next door. What really concerns retailers is the difficulty of finding new talent, at least according to a survey of 135 chief executive officers and presidents conducted by the Herbert Mines Associates search firm, WWD and Equation Research.
The survey posed the question: “What keeps you up at night?” The biggest concern expressed was talent acquisition and development, said Hal Reiter, chairman and ceo of Herbert Mines. “Ninety percent do not believe that the retail industry is attracting the best and brightest from college campuses. It’s a problem.”
Overall, there is a lack of satisfaction with the talent pool in retailing. “About half [in the survey] thought the skills and expertise needed to fill the C-suite are not available,” and, consequently, 74 percent said they plan to recruit from outside the retail industry for leadership.
That means retailers must invest more in training and skill development. Some do, including Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Gap and Toys ‘R’ Us, which Reiter credited for running effective training programs. Nevertheless, “the retention rate of kids is almost zero after two years,” he added.
“Why haven’t we typically attracted best entry-level talent? The number-one reason is that sexy careers are elsewhere — in banking, consulting, in anything else besides retailing,” Reiter said. There is also a widespread perception that the first few years in retailing can be a drag. “You sit at a computer and look at a spreadsheet for the first five years,” Reiter said.
But he sees some hope. “I am here to tell you the landscape has changed. It’s a new day. The convergence of technology and social media and recent developments in the economy give us great reason to be optimistic. Now working in retail is sexy. This shift in the environment is attracting the younger generation. Now is a great time of opportunity.
“But, at the end of the day, it’s not about salary and stock options. It’s about career development,” Reiter said. “You must give them more opportunities to grow faster.”
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)
Discovery is collaborating with British pop artist @philipcolbert on a new line of clothing and accessories called Discovery Shark. The collection, which will launch next summer for Shark Week’s 30th anniversary, features a whimsical line of women’s and men’s bomber jackets, sweatshirts, bags and more. #wwdfashion
“I’m always a big champion of a female rapper, and I’m glad to see a new voice that feels unique and authentic that’s coming up, and I think we’re going to see more great things from her,” said @itsjeremyscott about @iamcardib, who performed at @moschino’s Art Basel Miami Beach party last night. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
@janellemonae’s “What’s Your Frequency?” room in @refinery29's #29Rooms made its debut this week at the opening of the Los Angeles art exhibit. “It’s about the ongoing conversation around mass surveillance, the weaponization of technology and cultural uniformity. My space was created so that we can come together and talk about the complexities of our humanity,” said Monáe. #wwdeye (📷: @bucknerphoto)
@pantone announced their Color of the Year 2018: Ultra Violet. Nearly 20 months after the musician Prince’s death, fashion is having a purple moment. Varying shades of purple appeared on spring or fall runways, from @christopherkane to @calvinklein. @gucci’s Alessandro Michele bathed his fall runway in ultra violet-colored light at one point. Pantone 18-3838 is meant to “push the boundaries of what inspires us to look upward and outward to the future.” #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)