The retail sector in India has gone through some drastic changes in recent years. Due to changing business trends, companies that operate within this sector have had to adapt accordingly. The retail and supply chain environments of today are vastly different from what they were even just five years ago. As we move forward into the future, optimizing workforce planning and strategy is going to be a crucial part of retail and supply chain management.
According to the Retail 4.0 Report released by Nasscom, around 25 million new jobs will be created in the Indian retail sector by 2030. The changing demand and supply drivers are likely to accelerate the growth momentum, with the Indian retail market reaching up to $1.5 trillion by FY2030. Making India the world’s fifth-largest global destination in the retail space. With this massive expansion, the retail industry has to prepare for the increased demand for manpower and control the attrition at the same time.
Now that we can decipher the magnitude of the marketplace, and the ample opportunities in the industry, let us look at some of the key reasons how degree apprenticeships can aid and support retailers in taking their skilled manpower game to the next level.
India has a large and growing youth population that needs education as well as employability. To cater for that, we need to massify online education along with apprenticeship-linked education to enable employment along with a degree. It is highly effective at equipping students with valuable knowledge, adequate skill-sets and work experience. Creating a linkage between higher education and apprenticeship gives students an opportunity to learn while earning. Apprenticeship graduates will also be able to finish their courses with zero student loan debt, compared to regular university students. It is also a great way for employers to address skill gaps and ensure they are getting the most from their training investments.
How can Degree Apprenticeships create a talent pipeline in the retail sector?
The workforce in the retail space ought to be a dynamic bunch and have varying responsibilities. From manual labour or technical assistance in electronics, perishables, toiletries or hardware to procurement, assessment, quality control and delivery. These job roles are great opportunities for any youth to start off their professional career. Students getting on board with this program are trained to be deft in skill through constant learning, employing their attentiveness, focus and eye for detail throughout their classroom as well as on-job training.
The overall attrition level in the retail industry is around 30-35%. But for entry-level staff, it is around 70%. Through degree apprenticeships, the industry can easily get staff for entry-level jobs, enroll them into the system and provide training on-the-job. A perfect opportunity for them to get educated and later apply for job roles in the same company.
Investment in training and guidance can be halved if retailers employ degree-embedded apprentices. With a little supervision and training for higher and complex processes, the apprentices will prove to be an invaluable asset to the organization with their commitment and acquired knowledge of trends, patterns and even customer buying behavior. Employees who are hired as apprentices directly from their apprenticeship program are more likely to serve in the same organization for years, and they can even be taken in with a contract stating the same.
Degree Apprenticeship in Salesforce
The biggest challenge for a retail brand is to get the manpower onboard followed by training, handling, and placing them. One of the biggest apparel brands, Proline India decided to onboard the degree apprenticeship program to tackle the issue of talent shortage. The hiring was not location-bound, hence bringing talent to the retail business opened the door for various job seekers. An apprentice was trained to work on all the roles required for the functioning of a store - from merchandising to assisting the customers with their selection to managing the sales counter. This degree-enabled apprenticeship program enabled students to get jobs, while completing their degree. On the other hand, it created a pool of skilled manpower for the organizations. After the success of this degree-linked apprenticeship program, Proline now on average hires 200-300 apprentices every year as per the requirement. A win-win situation for both employers and the students.
Hence, the retail sector needs to look beyond the traditional routes to fill its talent pipeline and take up innovative strategies like degree apprenticeships. Degree apprenticeships provide flexibility to organizations to train and employ people all over the country, customized to their needs. A degree apprenticeship provides a fantastic incentive to potential talent, enabling the industry to choose from the best.
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