FashionUnited publishes a series of interviews dedicated to the most sought-after professions in the fashion industry, both by the brands and by companies active in fashion and luxury e-commerce. We decided to hear from companies to understand which are the most popular roles and how much income can be earned by those who hold these positions.
We interviewed Deborah Lee, chief people officer at Yoox Net-a-porter group. The international company, with Anglo-Italian roots, is the result of the October 2015 merger between Yoox Group and The Net-a-porter group-two pioneers who have transformed the fashion and luxury sector since their inception in 2000. Since June 2018, Yoox Net-a-porter group has been a single-member company subjected to the direction and coordination of Compagnie Financière Richemont SA.
What are the most sought-after profiles now and what will be the most popular in the coming months?
Yoox Net-a-porter group is a unique business that operates where technology and fashion meet. In fact, the talents we seek reflect that. They are experts in both luxury fashion retail and technology and logistics. We are looking for innovative people with an entrepreneurial spirit with the customer always at the center. Currently, technology is one of the main areas in which we are hiring, with open positions in our Tech hubs in London and Bologna such as commercial insight analyst, business intelligence developer, websphere commerce developer and senior front end developer. We are also looking for head of experience, social media managers, corporate communications managers and personal shoppers. To apply, simply visit our careers page on our website.
What do these professions do?
Innovation is at the heart of our business. We are the leaders in luxury fashion retail. As one of the fastest growing sectors, there are always new opportunities to grow and learn. We need innovators in all our departments, working every day to create solutions that meet our customers' desires in the new frontier of luxury e-commerce: from new shopping experiences such as YooxMirror and the Daisy digital avatar, our Mr P. or 8 by Yoox labels, to our personalized luxury services tailored to our top customers such as the personal shopper at home.
What kind of training and skills are required for these positions?
We are looking for talents from different backgrounds and with different experiences. We have several placement programs such as our Tech graduates in London-for those who want to start a career in technology-but our range of opportunities is so wide that our team also includes students directly from the school as well as MBA and PhD students. For technology positions they are mainly graduates in computer engineering, mathematics, internet science and statistics. For the marketing, communication and commercial areas, instead, we select profiles that have masters or degrees in humanities, fashion and economics. What matters most is the ability to learn, adapt quickly and work in teams to achieve great results. We believe in the importance of growing our talents, also through our internal academy, which offers them the opportunity to continuously improve their personal and professional skills.
Have you encountered or are you encountering difficulties in finding suitable professional candidates?
It is incredible to think that 85 percent of the professions that will exist in 2030 still do not exist today. Many of the roles we are looking for have only existed for a few years, for example in the field of artificial intelligence or smart data. It is not always easy to find professionals in these fields, which are still so new. Somehow it's a situation we've always had to deal with in the course of our history. In the last 20 years we have witnessed a revolution in terms of new careers. When we started in 2000, as pioneers in fashion e-commerce, the skills we needed were barely available, but we had a vision and we invested in the development of our talents. Today we have the best experts on the market.
We have always been committed to developing talent and providing future generations with the right skills to thrive in an increasingly digital future. Through our Digital Education programme, in partnership with the Golinelli Foundation in Italy and Imperial College in London in the UK. In 2018 alone we trained over 3,400 students aged 4-18, of whom 55 per cent were girls. We are strongly committed to promoting gender equality, particularly the fair representation of women in technology, which unfortunately is still a problem in our industry. In collaboration with our magazine Porter, we have just launched the competition "Incredible girls of the future", open to young girls between 16 and 25 years who have the ambition to make a mark and create a unique and original idea for a fashion app aimed at creating a positive change in the world.
What are the right characteristics and aptitudes to work in an environment like yours?
Ours is a team of over 5000 talents, two thirds are women, 90 different nationalities in 10 offices around the world including Milan, Bologna, London, New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo. It is essential to have a lot of curiosity to continue to explore and learn, to be able to look ahead with a long-term vision, to be bold in always finding innovative solutions and a great passion for the customer who is always our source of inspiration.
Photo: Deborah Lee, photo from Yoox-Net-a-Porter press office