A new study released today has projected that the UK fashion industry would need to create 50,000 to 60,000 new roles in order to keep up with the digital revolution shaping the industry.
The study, carried out by London’s Fashion Retail Academy and OC&C Strategy consultants says there will be a substantial need for roles at the head office level where analytical and technically skilled workers are required.
Customer insight, digital content creation, systems analysis, merchandising, buying, CRM and supply chain management are the sectors predicted to need a significant boost in the near future.
Over half of retailers say they are already struggling to find suitably skilled workers for the role, and have uncovered a significant skills gap.
The rise in demand for these roles is attributed to the adoption of social media and the effects it has on fashion consumers.
The report found that 58 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds make purchases after seeing someone wearing them on social media, and a further 72 per cent said they shop directly from social platforms.
Retailers have already responded to this change, estimating they’ll pay over twice their current budget on social media marketing over the next five years, with nearly a quarter saying they predict their business model will change because of it.
“The retailers’ hiring struggle is very real. The industry is changing at a breakneck speed, but the pool of skilled candidates ready to step up to the challenge simply isn’t there,” OC&C Strategy Consultants partner Michael Jary said.
“Many retailers have already recognised current skills gaps within their organisation, with three quarters of retailers providing in-house training for experienced staff and management to plug these gaps.
“However, all of the retailers we spoke with believe that the skills required in these areas would be entirely new in five years’ time, and supporting rigorous and evolving training programmes will be a challenge for retailers.”