Faced with a “vocation crisis”, clothing stores are struggling to recruit

A glance at the Indeed search engine is enough to grasp the magnitude of the crisis. Dozens of job offers are available online for sales positions in Ile-de-France. Louis Vuitton, Petit Bateau, Primark, Maje, Fleux, Nike and other Etam seek to fill sales contracts in stores ready to “Ensure that the store runs smoothly”, To “Listen to customers” and to “Provide backup for Christmas”. It will be part-time or full-time, on a fixed-term or indefinite contract.

The crisis opened by Covid-19 in 2020 had “Raises fears of massive job losses in trade”, recognizes Sylvain Lecomte, HR Director at Beaumanoir, parent company of the brands La Halle, Caroll, Cache Cache and Morgan. But, to believe it, it is a “Vocations crisis” faced by the clothing trade sector since the summer. The candidates are missing.

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Long before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and the containment measures to curb its spread, the tension was felt on the professions of “IT or logistics”, recalls Yohann Petiot, director general of the Alliance du commerce, a federation of clothing traders.

For years, the shift in the sector to online sales has forced companies to hire profiles of engineers, Internet specialists and experts in storage, transport and after-sales service, highly sought after throughout France. The crisis, which has reinforced the growth of e-commerce, has stretched this pool of technical jobs a little more and has led to a “War of talents”, as Mr. Lecomte puts it. But it also shook up the recruitment for positions in the head offices of the brands within their finance and accounting departments, said the latter. And, in stores, candidate populations are more « volatiles », according to the latter. The aspirations of working people have changed.

Strict criteria

Both now choose their employer with strict criteria. For example, reports Mr. Lecomte, working “Saturdays until 8 p.m.” in-store is a constraint that some candidates find it difficult to accept. In management functions, the possibility of working remotely has become a decisive criterion when signing an employment contract. “During an interview, a candidate asked me for the possibility of teleworking 100%”, is surprised Jean-Jacques Salaün, Managing Director of Inditex in France, which employs 10,000 people in France, in the Zara, Bershka, Massimo Dutti, Stradivarius, Oysho and Pull & Bear stores.

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