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Talent Pool in Retail – where Will it Come From? Sanjeev Duggal CEO Bharti Comtel Ltd.

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Excerpts of the presentation by Sanjeev Duggal, CEO & Executive Director, Bharti Comtel Ltd., at the ASSOCHAM – India’s Retail Revolution – Managing the Change.
Mr. Duggal highlighted the shortage of talent in the retail industry. The huge gap between the supply and demand of trained, skilled and talented manpower in the retail industry cannot be fulfilled by the present workforce available. He cited an example of soon to be launched retail venture of Bharti Enterprise, which would need around 200,000 trained people, and voiced his concern regarding the lack of talent pool. In their communication business as well, Bharti needs around 20,000 trained people in next few months. But this demand cannot be fulfilled with the kind of present supply that we have.

The attrition rate taken together of the entire retail industry in India would be somewhere around 60-70 per cent. The situation is made worse by the shrinking profit margins, and to retain the workforce money is required. So, the retailer is in a fix, if he doesn’t reduce the profit of margin, the competitor will gain. In a way, reducing the profit of margin is a necessity but retaining the workforce requires money, so where does the retailer get the money to hold the workforce?

Bharti has outsourced its manpower problem of hiring, training and supplying the skilled workforce to one of its own company.

He further stressed on the paucity of enough institutes to train people for retail business in this country. “Real estate can be raised but we need to respond strategically to this issue and come up with strategic and effective solutions like Bharti has done for their workforce problem.”

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