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The fashion industry is facing a skilled worker shortage

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

25 Jul 2022

Business

Image: Pexels

Warnings of staffing shortages in the UK after Brexit was invoked is now being echoed by a global need for fashion talent.

Last week luxury group LVMH said it was looking to fill 2,000 positions by the end of the year, and 30,000 by 2024, as a need for specialised personnel is leaving gaps in the fashion sector.

WWD said LVMH’s executive vice president of human resources, Chantal Gaemperle, confirmed the group is facing a shortage of skilled workers. "This year we have a record number of vacancies, among leather goods, jewelers, watchmakers and sales staff, as well as hotel and restaurant staff. And if we project ourselves a little further, until 2024, we are talking about 30 thousand open positions ".

UK-based think tank Fashion Roundable back in October 2021 said a majority of manufacturers already had vacancies and were “concerned about a potential talent shortage with their predominantly European workforce seeking the security of work at factories on mainland Europe.”

When Farfetch chose a location to house its latest headquarters, a 178,00 sqm campus to house its technology, creative and digital departments, it moved 7,000 jobs from London to Portugal, in what is dubbed Fuse Valley, a corporate structure of 12 interconnected buildings. European workers who used to come to the UK are relocating to Europe, but Portugal has startup-friendly taxes and great beaches. Non-EU residents are able to get a golden visa and tech entrepreneurs can get a startup visa, says Tech Crunch. English is also widely spoken and at a more advanced level than countries such as Spain, France and Italy.

According to PoliticsHome, fashion is one of a number of the UK industries calling for help recruiting workers, which so far have been rebuffed by government. Retailers are facing staff shortages, too. At first it was the coronavirus which led to restrictions, but figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said record vacancies increased sharply to a 1.2 million at the end of 2021.

Personnel shortage facing all sectors

In May the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said UK retailers warned of skills shortages, with digital skills now needed for 79 percent of retail jobs. 62 percent of company leaders say they cannot find people with the right experience.

Global shortage

Earlier this month New Zealand said it is lacking skilled machinists, pattern makers, knitters, embroiderers, even as there are ‘plenty of jobs to go around.’

Indian factories are seeing a boost in orders after the pandemic, but are dependant on migratory workers, who are spending more time in their home villages after the pandemic, and some are finding other work, such as wheat harvesting. One factory owner told Apparel Resources that freshers and workers with limited skills are available, but due to high amount of orders there is no time to train them or work on low productivity.

BRC
LVMH
ONS
staffing shortage
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