The pandemic and economic crisis are hitting all sectors, including the fashion industry. Looking at how many have lost their jobs, it might seem that there are not enough vacancies for all the people seeking employment. However, it turns out this is not true. In fact, the opposite is the case: retailers have been struggling massively to find shop staff for months, while vacancies have been up for grabs. This growing problem does not only affect the Netherlands, but the entire EU market.
A look at the list of vacancies in the fashion industry shows that there are plenty of available positions for sales assistants and retail staff, as well as management positions in clothing and shoe stores. Yet more and more shops are limiting their opening hours, due to lack of staff. Several entrepreneurs have shared that they sometimes have hundreds of vacancies open, but hardly get any applications. For the first time ever, there are more job vacancies than jobseekers and unemployed people in the UK, The Conversation wrote in May this year. The large staff shortages have even led to company doctors' warning that employees should beware of overworking.
That's a shame, because a job in retail can not only be a lot of fun; it often offers advancement opportunities and the chance to further develop several skills, such as social skills. In addition, many fashion stores are part of international fashion companies, which also offers the opportunity to expand your network. Many stylists, fashion designers and shop owners started out as employees in a clothing and/or shoe boutique themselves. Roy Vervloet for example, began as a sales associate at JD Sports and is now International Multi-Channel Manager at a sister company of JD Sports. Another good example is the late Virgil Abloh, who once started as an intern at Fendi and ended up as a creative director at Louis Vuitton and with his own high-end street style brand, Off-White.
Retailers also work out ways to retain staff. Dutch fashion brand SuitSupply, for instance, recently doubled the bonus for the employee who finds a new colleague, which would pay out 4.000 euros. Bonuses are also regularly used in the UK to attract new employees, The Times wrote in July. Across Europe, permanent contracts and higher salaries are being offered in the retail sector to attract new workers. To combat staff shortages, the 'Job Shop' was organised earlier this year in Rotterdam. The event introduced jobseekers to different retailers, including Peek & Cloppenburg, H&M, Sacha, Swatch, and more. The initiative was very successful, attracting 80 jobseekers, of which 50 had a job offer afterwards. This shows not only how creative entrepreneurs are working to recruit staff, but also that there are enough people looking for work to fill vacancies in the retail sector. The Job Shop returns this autumn and is the perfect place for jobseekers who would like to wait and see how things develop first.
For people who have an affinity for fashion, strong social skills and are great salespeople, a job in retail is a golden opportunity. This is always true, but the current staff shortages make the market even more attractive for job seekers. There is, for instance, a wide range of fashion companies and brands to choose from now, allowing you to pick which brand best suits your values. In addition, there are so many different open positions, so no one has to settle for a job you don't actually like that much. Also, there is more flexibility to plan your working hours now. These factors make this the ideal time for jobseekers in the retail industry.
Curious about retail vacancies? Check out the latest open jobs here.
This article was written to promote Work in Fashion.