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Human Resource in Retail: Past, present and future

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With robotics transforming the working of the sector, 90 percent of the employers in the sector are focusing on reskilling their employees. The roles of the cashier, sales representative, inventory associate, andstock boy could also be threatened, whereas some new roles that will come up will be: retail data analyst, digital imaging leader, IT process modeler, digital marketing specialist and customer experience leader…

Employees are an integral part of retailing and emerge even more valuable in modern retail owing to the obligation of representing a retail brand. India has seen tremendous growth in modern retail over the years. Consequently, overall HR dynamics, employees’ role, their skill set, and performance delivery have been subjected to a continuous change. Industry leaders and employers need to take stock of such HR developments to make informed business decisions.

Future of

The report ‘’ by NASCOMM, FICCI and EY reveals that the future jobs in the country will be determined by interplay of globalisation, demographic changes and adoption of exponential technologies by Indian industries. As a result, in 2022, 9 percent of the workforce will be deployed in new jobs that do not even exist today; 37 percent will be in roles that have radically changed skill sets and only 54 percent will have their jobs unchanged. By the same year, around 10 percent of the estimated 600 million workers in India will be in the organised sector and new-aged methods in the agriculture while a sustained growth of the manufacturing and service sectors are likely to add variety of new and restructured jobs. The new forms of employment would include contract employees in the infrastructure sector; microentrepreneurs, employer-entrepreneurs in technology-enabled models (like freelancers, SME artisans, delivery workers, employees in start-ups); and, employer-enabled models in the agriculture sector.

Impact on Retail

Among the new and changed jobs in retail would include working with big data and blockchain, and their importance would only increase with the adoption of technology. By the year 2022, of the 22 million employees working in the retail sector in India, 5-10 per cent will have a job that doesn’t exist today, and 25-35 percent will require a new skill set. Nearly 15-20 percent of the current jobs in the sector are threatened, and the maximum impact of adoption of the technology of jobs will be felt in warehouse management. With robotics transforming the working of the sector, 90 percent of the employers in the sector are focusing on reskilling their employees. The roles of the cashier, sales representative, inventory associate, and stock boy could also be threatened, whereas some new roles that will come up will be: retail data analyst, digital imaging leader, IT process modeler, digital marketing specialist and customer experience leader.

Textiles & Apparel Retail

Automation has already established its foothold in the areas of spinning and weaving in textile and apparel sector, it is set to intensify and take over the job of helpers, fabric cutters, packers, pressers etc. The report cites industry experts that one robot can replace around 100 workers in a typical Indian textiles plant. The weaving and garmenting sub-sector would continue to hire at a rate of 8-8.5 percent year-on-year against a historical growth rate of 9-9.5 percent to reach 40.7 million in 2022. 45-55 percent of the jobs in 2022 would require new skill sets.

The roles that are at the risk of being obsolete are that of the packer, checker, folder, helper, and material handler. New jobs for environmental specialists, apparel data analyst, IT process engineer PLC maintenance specialist and e-textiles specialists will come to the fore. Simultaneously, the roles of merchandiser, fabric cutter, and pattern master will become increasingly digitized, and involve more machinery.

HR Trackers: The India Story

JORSS – a research-based Knowledge hub with expertise in data management, nurturing intelligent insights and building Knowledge Banks through research and training has developed two HR trackers for consumption by industry professionals, consultants, researchers and students. These trackers have evolved as a result of intense study of around 200 company reports and return filing over the years. JORSS aims to share key findings of this study through these HR trackers:

1. HR Expense Tracker: This is a decade (FY2009- FY2018) long tracker of trend in HR expenses in relation to total expenses by a retail company. 11 public listed companies have been covered in the first tracker and individual graphical snapshot has been prepared for each one of them.

2. HR KPIs Annual Tracker: Th is tracker tabulates annual HR expense performance of a retail company during a fiscal year. It shows HR spent under 3 key components of employee benefits viz. Salary, Funds and Welfare. It also notifies company wise the number of employees and average salary/per employee for the fiscal. In the first tracking 19 companies have been incorporated.

Going forward the list of companies will expand in both the trackers. All figures are in percentage for public consumption though JORSS is in possession of the primary figures and performance data. Industry query, feedback and suggestions on these trackers are welcome at info@jorss.in