The outbreak of the pandemic has had a severe impact on a number of industries, and it is not showing much improvement even after the decline in corona cases. India’s retail sector emerged as one of the worst-hit sectors, with a significant drop in the number of job searches in the last three years. The retail job searches in India fell 11.8% from August 2021 to August 2022, according to the global job site Indeed.
Looking at the big picture, the demand for retail jobs in India has declined a 5.5% in the last three years, between August 2019 and August 2022. During the Covid-19 period, the retail industry witnessed a sharp decline of 16.1% in job searches between August 2019 and August 2020. This was expected as many offline retailers had shut down or halted their operations fearing the widespread of the virus. However, there was a significant increase of 27.7% in retail job searches between August 2020 and 2021 before declining by 11.8% between August 2021 and August 2022.
These figures indicate that despite being one of India’s largest industries, the retail sector has been struggling to find qualified employees. But why has there been such a sharp decline in Indians’ demand for retail jobs? Let’s find out!
Jobseekers losing interest in the retail sector in India
According to the Indeed report, the drop in job searches in the retail sector was largely due to the increasing work-from-home culture adopted by most Indian companies in the wake of Covid-19 lockdown. If given the choice, a majority of job seekers would prefer to work entirely from home or in a hybrid environment. This is not possible for workers in the retail sector. Most retailers require employees to visit the workplace to handle customers or manage the retail shops.
Besides, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a big impact on consumers’ buying preferences. The majority of Indians now prefer to shop online rather than visit a shopping mall or other stores. The impact is clear – it is projected that India’s online retail market will grow from an estimated $55 billion in 2021 to $350 billion by 2030.
The festive months in India are usually a time where we see an increase in seasonal jobs to meet the increasing demand. Even though the percentage increase of jobs hasn’t been on par with last year, that’s not to say a substantial number of jobs have not been created. We see the discrepancy with last year given the global recessions happening, possible inflation, and the cautious nature of hiring currently, said Sashi Kumar, head of sales at Indeed India.
The report further revealed that managerial positions like “branch manager” have the highest percentage of job postings in the retail industry, at 22.9%. The retail sales associate comes in second with 10.07%, followed by store manager with 9.52%, logistics associate with 4.58%, and merchandiser with 4.38%.
Unexpectedly, the brand manager position is not in high demand among Indian job seekers. They seem to be more interested in positions such as store manager (15%), retail sales associate (14.4%), and cashier (11%). Branch manager (9.49%) come in third, followed by the logistics associate (9.08%).
Bengaluru: Most number of retail jobs in India
Bengaluru, known as India’s IT hub, accounts for the largest share of jobs in the retail industry with 12.2%. Mumbai (8.2%) and Chennai (6%) stand at second and third in terms of share of retail jobs. Surprisingly, Delhi does not rank among the top five cities.
The three cities with the lowest employment rates in the retail sector are Mysore, Jalandhar, and Bhubaneswar.
Indian retail industry
The retail sector in India is expected to reach a whopping $2 trillion in value by 2032, according to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Despite the impressive growth figures, the fast-changing preferences of ‘degree’ holders have a direct impact on the number of people looking to shape up their careers in the retail sector.
It’s no more a secret that India’s Information Technology (IT) sector has emerged as the favourite sector among job seekers, and through-the-roof salaries offered by companies and startups across the country are the biggest motivating factor. Retail, on the other hand, is nowhere in the competition when it comes to salaries being offered to employees.
Whatever the case may be, the retail sector is already facing a talent crunch, and unlike IT companies which have an option to look at Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities to fulfil their talent demand, the retail sector of India has limited choices. The declining demand for retail jobs in India indicates tough-time and high inflation in the months to come.