Fashion Jobs in Demand | BoF

Companies that have rushed to recruit staff in the virtual world are less likely to hire for these positions as they face a potentially very real downturn.

Across all industries, job postings with “metaverse” in the title fell 81% between April and June, Bloomberg reported, citing research from workplace consultancy Revelio. Fashion is no exception: while brands are still launching many Web3 and metaverse projects, the general enthusiasm seems to have diminished along with the prices of NFTs and cryptocurrencies.

Most fashion brands still rely on external partners to build their virtual storefronts and fashion shows. But as more and more companies – Puma, Adidas, Kenzo and Gucci among them – create branded channels on Discord, a messaging platform popular with early adopters of the web3, there could be needs staffed down the line for roles such as community managers and possibly some virtual sellers, experts say.

But these days, the priority in hiring is for positions that will help companies weather short-term uncertainty, whether it’s navigating supply chain issues, new environmental regulations or the changing demands of socially conscious consumers.

Diversity and inclusion managers and environmental, social and governance consultants, once fashionable rare, are growing fields, especially in large corporations. More traditional positions in supply chain and human resources are changing rapidly.

“Companies are starting to have this inflection of ‘What roles and capabilities are going to guide us in our longer-term strategy and also get us through some economic uncertainty,'” said Lisa Butkus, partner at Hanold Associates and head of its retail business. and the practice of luxury goods.

Here, BoF breaks down the in-demand fashion jobs of the moment.

Environmental, Social and Governance (or ESG) Compliance

For much of the past two decades, ESG has been an increasingly important but loosely defined topic. Each company had its own ideas of how to prioritize issues related to its environmental impact and human rights.

Governments in North America and Europe are introducing an increasing number of laws aimed at curbing abusive practices in the fashion supply chain and strengthening environmental standards. In the United States, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), which took effect in June, prohibits the entry into the United States of goods made with forced labor from China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. . In the UK, the Market and Competition Authority launched an investigation in July into sustainability claims by fast fashion brands Boohoo, Asos and George, the clothing brand of British supermarket chain Asda.

Fashion brands are scrambling to hire lawyers for their in-house teams who specialize in areas like international law and navigating environmental regulations, said Sara Orr, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Chicago who specializes in environmental, social and governance areas.

Whether internal or external, legal counsel can advise on ESG reporting and disclosure requirements, perform litigation risk analysis, help guide the response to shareholder activism, and may flag potential issues. human rights or environmental risks in the supply chain. Companies looking to bolster their ESG expertise are also adding resource people in HR, communications, marketing and other areas to respond to recommendations from the legal team, Orr said.

Currently, Authentic Brands Group, the parent company of Nautica and Juicy Couture, is hiring an ESG director (via LinkedIn), PVH Corp. needs a senior director of ESG communications (per its careers site) and Saks Fifth Avenue is recruiting for a sustainability director position that requires a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies (per LinkedIn).

Supply chain and logistics

Persistent port grumbling, product shortages, economic and geopolitical tensions as well as heightened consumer expectations for fast shipping have all contributed to placing the supply chain – and a host of logistics, assortment and of operations that support function – high on the list of priorities for fashion companies.

“I can’t think of a more important role right now than supply chain leaders and operations leaders,” said Inna Kuznetsova, chief executive of ToolsGroup, a global planning and optimization company. the supply chain.

Nordstrom named its first chief supply chain officer early last year, Revlon hired a new CSCO amid grunts in 2021 and luggage brand Away added its first chief operating officer the same year. . The three companies stressed the need to put the weight of the C-suite behind the growing logistics challenges.

“Before, when stores were the primary driver of retail sales, supply chains were more of a back-office function,” said Kyle Rudy, senior partner at executive search firm Kirk Palmer Associates. “Globalization and technology have transformed that.”

Fashion companies are hiring for support positions such as operations managers, merchandising assortment planners, shipping and logistics specialists, and pricing and promotions specialists, Kuznetsova said.

The employment of supply chain management professionals (or logisticians) is expected to increase by 30% from 2020 to 2030, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Kate Spade is currently hiring a Materials Development Coordinator and Materials Manager (per BoF Career), Under Armor needs a Senior Materials Developer for Apparel and Accessories (per its careers site), Luxottica is hiring an Analyst of supply chain (via CareerBuilder) and Gucci needs a vice president of supply chain, according to its careers website.

Positions that can help companies boost a company’s sustainability efforts — such as materials and product developers — are also attracting attention, said Janou Pakter, founder of the New York-based executive search firm. York Janou LLC.

“We constantly see where people are getting rewards for working with amazing new sustainable materials,” she said. “[Being able to source] these materials and all these different fabrics – these are incredibly warm and important.

Human resources and diversity, equity and inclusion

New employee expectations around flexibility, remote working and employer-supported mental well-being, coupled with consumer demands for organizations to have progressive policies that prioritize areas such as diversity and inclusion and social responsibility, have all contributed to making HR roles and responsibilities more complicated – and in demand – than ever before.

The turmoil of the past two years, including the pandemic, economic uncertainty, social justice protests and the so-called big resignation, has revealed that some senior HR leaders “may not be as nimble as the world demands it now,” Rudy said.

The result has been high turnover among senior executives, but also new opportunities for companies to “upgrade” their HR departments and prioritize “agile and diverse” candidates, he added. .

Recruitment needs range from senior HR managers to generalists and coordinators, with Gucci currently recruiting a “people operations coordinator”, Balenciaga seeking an HR generalist, via LinkedIn, and Kering eyewear recruiting an HR manager for North America, via its careers website.

When it comes to the DEI function specifically, fashion companies — from Kering to PVH Corp. to Nike and Lululemon — have added diversity leaders to their C-suite over the past two to four years. But the role of diversity director itself has become controversial due to high turnover and complaints that such executives are often overworked and under-resourced.

Faced with renewed pressures to devote more resources to DEI goals, companies are beginning to staff their DEI function – giving DEI leaders more resources to hire and train junior and middle managers and directors who could help deal with the complexity of the job, Butkus said.

Companies like J.Crew and Tiffany & Co. have recently added diversity officers. Currently, Condé Nast is looking for a Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Farfetch is looking for a Senior Director of Diversity & Inclusion, and Nike is hiring a Diversity & Inclusion Analyst. inclusion, by LinkedIn.