Waldorf, Germany – Retailers see a need for functional competencies leaning toward technology and data skills, even more than general business and people management. But a new survey of 76 retail managers from top retailers conducted by SAP during the recent SAP Retail Forum North America in Dallas, Texas revealed that 84% of retailers are worried that it will be challenging to find employees with these skills.
Exacerbating the problem is the overall hiring trend: 93% of survey respondents said hiring will not decrease during the next two to three years. When asked to specify which skills are in high demand, retailers indicate they are focused on filling management-level roles that have a strategic impact on the business, such as understanding and applying business analytics and big data in retail (80%), optimizing the retail business for omni-channel commerce (72%), and analyzing consumer buying behavior for improved operations (55%).
Within these functional competencies, 97% of the retailers surveyed are aware of the challenge of finding and training employees for new skill sets. Retailers plan to approach this challenge using a mix of activities. The majority, 75%, plan to hire new people from outside the organization to fill these roles, if they can find them. More than half said they plan to use in-house educational resources or organically develop new skills through experience and training. And, 53% plan to offer external education opportunities to current employees to improve skills.
Other skills of note that are top of mind for retailers include mobile commerce management (50%), merchandise buying/planning (37%), and digital and social branding skills (37%).