The study carried out by the consulting firm WeEQUAL for Alimarket failed to show diversity in management profiles for the consumer and retail sector in Spain. According to them, “the majority of profiles remain those of Spanish men between 50 and 59 with an academic background in social sciences, mostly economics, educated in public universities and having completed postgraduate studies or a master’s degree at a Spanish university”. In terms of gender diversity, when compared with other IBEX 35 companies, there is not a single woman in a top position in distribution and only 5% in manufacturers. On the other hand, generational diversity is better, according to the study, as the direction in food and retailers is younger than IBEX 35’s” and most have been specifically trained for it.
It is because of this diversity and other factors listed below that the recruitment of talent has become one of the main challenges of the retail sector of 2020, behind analytics for better decision-making, and the threat to data security.
What are these factors that will force a new talent acquisition strategy?
According to a report by IBM and the National Retail Federation, 85% of companies in the sector are considering acquiring technologies to automate their processes and contribute to the digitization of their strategy. Such a change will require individuals with very specific skills, and knowledge in virtual reality, artificial intelligence, Big Data or blockchain… to the detriment of tasks that can be easily automated by technology. Professionals specialized in SAP, IoT, Deep Learning, Business Intelligence and Big Data, or engineers in production, processes, maintenance, R&D… will be most in demand.
But it will not only concern technology.
Demand for profiles related to the Customer Experience will rise too as customers do not only buy products or services but also seek an experience. Those profiles will have a clear orientation to the client, knowledge of the commercial area, marketing, channel of purchase and logistics. Very complete and versatile, that know how to make the most of the new channels and environments in which the consumer moves, mainly online without leaving aside the physical store.
Despite the power that the online channel has, physical stores continue to lead the sector. In fact, 71% of Spanish consumers decide to go to the physical store to buy a product for the first time even if they have looked for it online before. Therefore, the very design of the store has changed radically and incorporated technology to provide intelligence and to collect data from the consumer. Perhaps one of the most representative examples is AmazonGo, which consists of a fully automated shopping experience incorporating sensors, product identifiers or smart shopping carts; or inventory managers like in Zara. The key, detect consumer behaviours while buying and make decisions accordingly.
Despite these surprising technological advances – which are not applicable to all cases – the underlying idea, generally applicable, is customer orientation seeking experiences and comprehensive analysis of your behaviour to design efficient solutions. “The new profiles, medium and high, will not only have to be able to design a strategy focused on the consumer, but also to relate it to other disciplines such as digital marketing, Big Data or process engineering. All this in order to provide the client with a unique, complete and unforgettable experience”.