How is the Retail Labour Market changing with the arrival of Millennials? Are Fashion and Luxury companies changing their strategies to attract this new generation?
No one can be surprised by the efforts the Fashion and Luxury industry is making to attract and retain the younger generations through marketing campaigns and specific products. The so-called Millennials are not only getting purchasing and economic power in Fashion, but they are also setting up the new rules of the labour market.
Inditex has certainly been one of the first groups in the international fashion scene to focus on Millennials. The group owned by Amancio Ortega has brands like Bershka, Stradivarius and Pull & Bear targeting young people, while Zara, Zara Home and Uterqüe have a broader target audience, including adults and professional people.
However, nowadays Millennials are no longer just a target consumer. They have already entered the labour market and they want it to change in order to meet their own needs. Therefore, the labour market has to pay special attention to this target group because the number of Millennials has already grown to 92 million people and that just in the United States (alone).
Millennials in the Luxury market
After Inditex, it is the luxury market that looks at the Millennials with growing interest. Dolce & Gabbana, for instance, has put people under the age of 35 into the center of their latest collections and marketing strategy.
It all started with the AW 17/18 campaign, when the Italian designers invited some of the greatest influencers to walk the runway. Cameron Dallas, king of YouTube, and Giulia Maenza, instagramer with 21.3k followers, were just a few. The firm has also launched the hashtag #DGMillennials, which appears in all their posts. Designer Stefano Gabbana is very active on Instagram.
Not only Dolce & Gabbana has realized the potential of Millennials in the Fashion and Luxury market, but also Gucci and other brands from the Kering group are following the example of the Italian firm.
This is so because those under the age of 35 are boosting the world of Luxury. In 2017, 80% of luxury goods sales were shopped by Millennials, which pushes companies in the sector to change the way they sell and buy. Companies are focusing more on the eCommerce and omnichannel experience, which new generations find so attractive too.
Meeting the Millennials: who are they?
The Millennials, or Generation Y, are those born between 1980 and 2000, in other words, those who are between 18 and 38 years old today. They are the generation that has experienced the Great Recession, the economic crisis starting in 2008, the highest unemployment rate in recent decades and they are the first generation that is going through worse working conditions than the previous generation.
However, not everything is bad for Millennials, since they also experience positive features that their parents and grandparents didn’t have:
– They are the first totally globalized generation: they live in a world with no barriers, where travelling is much easier and they have all the information at the click of a button.
– They are digital natives: 96% of them use smartphones and tablets and are used to using modern technologies from a very early age.
– They are more open to teamwork and less competitive than previous generations.
For companies, Millennials are a very important target, since they currently represent almost a third of the working population (by 2020, they will be more than 50% of the world’s working population).
Fantastic Millennials: where to find them (and how to retain them)
It is vital for companies to change their strategies on attraction and retention of employees (or talent, as it’s called now) and adapt them to Millennials.
First of all, it is important to understand what Generation Y is looking for in a job. And we are not just talking about money. On the contrary, everything is reduced to a single expression: emotional salary. Emotional salary is what really motivates new generation, and we could sum this up in the following points:
– Opportunity for growth and development: Millennials get motivated by a working environment that allows them to grow as professionals through coaching and mentoring programmes.
– Balance of work and personal life: For Millennials, the balance between professional and personal life seems to be vital. Many factors come into play, like working from home, flexible hours, proximity to the workplace and social benefits, such as a gym membership.
– Corporate culture and values: The new generation wants to work for a company they can identify themselves with and they want “their” company to be of use for society. Millennials want to be their work to be more meaningful for the companies they work for as well as for society as a whole.
There are also additional elements that motivate Millennials, such as the possibility of working abroad, having competitive salaries or their opinion being taken into account in the company’s decision-making process.
That being said, it is also important to know where to look for Millennials. Nowadays, the digital world is obviously the perfect place to attract young talent. Recruitment 2.0, or Social Recruitment, is essential for Talent Acquisition teams. LinkedIn in primis, but also Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram. In fact, 62% of Millennials usually visit companies’ profiles on social media to find information or a job.
Therefore, it seems clear that companies should invest in Online Employer Branding if they are determined to attract Millennials. Recruitment departments must develop their own marketing strategies to reach even the very last corner of the digital world in search of Generation Y’s talent.
It is time for the Retail labour market to reflect on Millennials
Although the turnover of Luxury is growing thanks to Millennials and international firms are focusing more on young people, the Retail sector is losing many young workers.
A LinkedIn study from 2016 and 2017 showed that Retail is one of the sectors that continue to lose Gen Y workers. It is estimated that in the last 12 months the number of millennial employees has decreased by 11% in this sector, in favor of others, such as Computer Engineering, Finance or Medicine. Deanne Tockey, Insight Analyst on LinkedIn, explains this development as follows: «It might not be surprising that Millennials are leaving roles in Retail as they advance in their careers, since the industry tends to be bottom-heavy with entry-level positions».
Seeing the growing weight of Millennials in the labour market, the Retail sector should implement the talent retention strategies explained above, invest in Recruitment 2.0 and promote a competitive (emotional) salary. Otherwise, the Retail Sector could run out of young talent, which is, after all, the working population of the present and the future.
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