Driven by technology and the radical evolution of consumer buying behaviour, UK stores are introducing a raft of touch sensitive displays, connected kiosks and intelligent trolleys including body scanning to help consumers pick the perfect outfit. This has resulted in the fashion industry requiring savvier and more computer literate staff, changing the nature of a job in fashion.
Smartphone-using shoppers are scanning QR codes for the latest bundled offers, and browsing effortlessly between the physical and virtual retail worlds. All the while, tablet wielding brand ambassadors are offering a growing range of interactive, assisted fashion selling services. All of these new technological changes mean that those looking for jobs in fashion need an even more diverse set of skills than ever before.
July figures from the British Chamber of Commerce report business confidence in the UK is at its highest level since 2007. A combination of rising domestic demand and growing export orders, and growth across the UK’s manufacturing, construction and service sectors has created a tangible air of optimism. May’s three and a half year mortgage approval high has further added weight to the argument that a sustainable recovery is on its way.
Against this macro-economic picture, the National Audit Office reported an increase of 1.9 per cent in retail sales volumes, and a 3.1 per cent increase in the value of retail spending, in May 2013. While fashion jobs are obviously part of this figure, they are hit in different, more interesting ways as technology becomes so much a part of everyone’s lives.
For recruitment in the retail sector there are fewer signs of an upturn. Tracking retail recruitment levels for the first half of 2013, specialist retail recruitment website RetailChoice.com found vacancy levels had fallen back to the recessionary levels they saw in 2009. This combined with data from other specialist and generalist recruitment websites reporting on job postings also give a less than positive view of the economy and prospects looking specifically for those hotly contested jobs in fashion.
Ecommerce now makes up approximately 12 per cent of all retail sales, up from low single digit figures only three years ago. Fashion can be a difficult proposition online but with sites like BooHoo.com and ASOS.com (As Seen on Screen) moving ahead of the pack, challenging traditional high street retailers for their share of consumer spending, fashion jobs have also evolved to include a digital element.
If you are looking for retail work, in particular fashion jobs, RetailChoice does still have a number of roles with varying required skill levels.