Hong Kong retailers are facing the challenge of a talent crunch in the retail sector. A major lack of retail professionals is heavily impacting sales, the digital transformation of the industry and overall customer experience as well, according to a report jointly released by KPMG and the Hong Kong Retail Management Association (HKRMA).
A survey of about 281 retailers showed that high store rent continued to be one of the biggest challenges by Hong Kong retailers, according to the report titled “Minding the Retail Gap: Hong Kong’s Talent Challenges and Future Strategies.” The next biggest challenge was a shortage of workers and a high turnover rate.
The roles that are the toughest to hire for are front-line customer service staff and retail salespersons. Technicians supporting retail technologies/digitalization/eCommerce are also among those roles that are difficult to fill. The need of the hour is for retailers to recognize the importance of a technologically savvy workforce. It will not only help in attracting customers but also appeal to potential job seekers.
A technologically savvy employer brand proves to be an essential aspect for the new generation of job-seekers who belong to the Millennial generation. A poor customer service quality would lead to sluggish sales growth and waning staff morale and productivity in the next two years.
On a global scale, this dearth of talent in the retail sector could impact Hong Kong’s stature as a premium shopping destination. It could further put the industry on a back footing as a lack of talent would mean no progress in global competitiveness.
“The next generation of talent in Hong Kong needs to be nurtured, and we need to upskill at all levels,” said Anson Bailey, Partner, Head of Consumer and Retail for Asia-Pacific and Head of Technology for Hong Kong at KPMG China.