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A premium for seasoned talent
update on Friday, August 26, 2011

The global economic uncertainty has not adversely affected the local retail industry, according to the latest statistics released by the government. The report shows a 28.8 per cent increase in the total value of retail sales in June 2011 over the past year.

As more brands expand their businesses on the mainland, making Hong Kong their first point of contact, the demand for experienced frontline sales rises. Almost every store in the market, particularly the luxury brands, is looking for retail staff, from junior sales to store managers. As a result, the war for talent in retail sales has intensified. 

Besides posting job ads, companies now resort to headhunting or luring potential talent away from the competition, a recruitment strategy normally used for senior positions.

Due to the high demand, top staff expect an increment of as much as 20 per cent in basic salary. On top of the monetary factor, potential hires also consider the company's brand image, location and working conditions. The problem of talent shortage in the retail industry cannot be solved in the short run as companies suffer from high employment cost and attrition rate.

Meanwhile, employers remain meticulous in choosing their staff. Aside from a sound educational background, candidates must have strong language skills and they should be client-focused.

Alan Wong, general manager, Kelly Services

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