Attrition and poaching of the stem retail sector as the holidays approach


MUMBAI/NEW DELHI : Poaching of the retail sector, which was once a phenomenon in major cities, is becoming more and more true in Tier II and Tier III cities as festival season approaches and more and more more offline stores are opening to meet post-pandemic demand.

Companies in the retail sector are rolling out counter offers and handing out pay rises of up to 70% to stem defections and recruit staff, industry officials said.

“Attrition in the retail sector is around 25%, compared to 15% in the pre-covid era. It is higher at junior levels, and this is largely due to the expansion of the retail and branding in small towns,” said Shiv Agrawal, managing director of staffing firm ABC Consultants.

According to the Retailers Association of India, India’s retail sector employs 45 million people. About five million people left the labor market during the pandemic or lost their jobs, but most of them have been reinstated.

“We expect another 2-3 million people to be hired over the next three to four months,” said Kumar Rajagopalan, managing director of RAI. Data from the industry body shows retail trade has risen 20% in the past four months from pre-pandemic levels.

The expansion of large retail chains such as Reliance Retail, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail, Trent, owned by the Tata Group, Shoppers Stop and Lifestyle, owned by the Landmark Group, in metros and small towns has further fueled the poaching wars. “We have mid-management dropouts after a few weeks of joining, and that’s after a 70% rise and a joining bonus. You have to start hiring again when a company opens many stores a day and tries to meet the demand of the festival season, ”said a senior human resources executive at one of the three largest retail companies in the world. detail.

The festive season peaks during Diwali and will continue until the end of the year.

Email queries sent to Trent Ltd and Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail went unanswered.

“There hasn’t been a proliferation of skills, and the cake is pretty much the same; so, everyone goes after that. Therefore, (applicants) have more than one option,” said Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder and executive director of TeamLease Services.

Young executives who moved into e-commerce businesses and food delivery platforms during the pandemic are now returning to the retail sector. Senior management is also witnessing a turnover. Mint had reported in July that the retail arm of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) was seeking up to 200 senior executives at the level of vice president and above with annual salaries of 1 crore or more and thousands more junior and middle managers.

The resurgence of offline retail stores is another push behind scaling and recruitment.

“Organized retail is now becoming popular and mom-and-pop stores are dying. Previously, people used to travel during the holiday season in major cities, but now it’s not necessary,” said K. Sudarshan, director general of executive research firm EMA Partners India.

In fact, ABC Consultants said the ratio of online shopping to offline stores has gone from 30:70 pre-Covid to 70:30 during the pandemic and is now nearly 50:50, which has spurred the hiring campaign.

Leasing in India’s retail sector grew by around 166% year-on-year, topping 1.5 million square feet in the first half of 2022, according to recent estimates from the consulting firm. CBRE real estate.

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