Fashion houses struggle to find talent

Monday, 12 May 2014
Fashion houses are struggling to find the talent to develop their brands according to new research by the Boston Consulting Group and Business of Fashion. Nearly 70 percent of luxury brands find it difficult to place creative directors, many citing inadequate talent pipelines. "One of the biggest challenges facing luxury and fashion companies today is finding, developing, and retaining great creative and business talent," said Jean-Marc Bellaïche, a partner at BCG. Sarah Willersdorf, a principal at BCG.

Recruiting challenges from design to general management

Recruiting challenges exist across the entire spectrum of roles:

- Design and Product. Top-notch creative directors are scarce; nearly 70 percent of survey respondents said that these professionals are “impossible” or “very difficult” to find. Technical design is another underserved area: 42 percent said that pattern makers are in very short supply.

- Technology and Digital. It is hard to hire database managers, web developers, and technical managers—roles that, in a digital era, could make a big difference to a company’s effectiveness. A third of the companies surveyed find it “impossible” or “very difficult” to hire an e-commerce manager.

- Business and General Management. It is becoming more difficult to find chief executives and general managers who combine analytical and creative skills; retail, product, and brand expertise; and international experience.

The report recommends fashion businesses to get to know the schools (personally). Companies can get closer to pools of fresh talent by forging closer relationships with educational institutions. Focus on identifying and building tomorrow's leaders. Companies need to identify both prospects and current employees who combine creative know-how with business acumen and then develop customized programs to hire, develop, and retain them.

The full report will be released in June.

Image: Karl Lagerfeld