Building Workforce Resilience in the Fashion and Luxury Goods Industry

Building Workforce Resilience in the Fashion and Luxury Goods Industry
November 30, 2023 14 mins

Building Workforce Resilience in the Fashion and Luxury Goods Industry


With more brands looking to reposition themselves in the fashion and luxury industry and secure their future, a robust workforce resilience strategy will be key.

Key Takeaways
  1. Digitalization has many implications on talent strategy, from determining what skills are needed, to attracting, retaining and developing skills for the future.
  2. Employee data helps firms understand their current workforce and how to develop and refine their EVP.
  3. Knowing where a business stands on pay transparency is crucial for making decisions around rewards, compensation and DE&I.

The luxury goods sector is becoming an increasingly crowded space, as brands that once did not see themselves as operators in the luxury goods market, now identify opportunities to diversify and create products and services that can be sold at a premium. The question then remains: Is this trend leading to the luxury goods industry facing a talent crunch that will place greater strain on their ability to retain, attract and upskill talent?

This is one reason — alongside a reassessment of workforce priorities and wellbeing as a result of the pandemic — why a focus on building workforce resilience is key. Initiatives like differentiating employee benefits to help create a standout employee value propositions (EVPs), increasing a firm’s emphasis on wellbeing, and upskilling and reskilling existing talent, will be vital for the long-term future of every luxury goods brand.

The Luxury of Competition

In order to respond to the demands of younger customers that are pushing into the luxury goods segment, it will be critically important to leverage new technologies and adjust to the digital landscape. This may require a reevaluation of skillsets available versus those needed to future proof the organization.

To drive their digital transformation, luxury brands will need a standout tech team — which means looking outside of retail and competing with the likes of Google and Apple to secure talent that can take advantage of growth and value opportunities in areas like digital assets and artificial intelligence. Many businesses will find the competition too hot and face questions regarding their existing pay and reward structures. Can they be flexible enough to meet the increased salary demands needed to attract this new talent?

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If you’re a traditional business in the luxury goods sector, you need to be ready for new entrants who are going to come after your talent.”

John McLaughlin
Partner; Talent Solutions; Europe, the Middle East and Africa

Know What Skill are Needed

One way luxury businesses can start their workforce resilience journey is by undertaking a skills gap analysis. This will allow them to understand what existing and transferable skills they already have and what skills they might need. Take a job family such as finance, for example. What are the technical skills, soft skills and future skills that the finance function will need to succeed in this changing environment?

Consider the indicators that someone already in the business can develop into another role. In many cases, training and learning are the simple parts; employees need to have the right propensities to fill other roles. If a business needs to look outside for a tech role, for example, flexibility around the types of considered candidates is key. It will be important to keep an eye on the market in order to have the right skillsets available to supplement the strategic direction of the organization. The current challenge for brands is staying true to core values and historical customers, while also capturing the desires of Gen Z. This applies to both the consumer and design experience, which requires reevaluating skillsets holistically to satisfy all stakeholders.

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We help clients understand what skills they have, identify gaps and then benchmark them against peers. It’s a tool that helps to inform their learning and development strategy and future proof the organization.”

Giles Patterson
Talent Practice Sector Lead – Retail, Consumer & eCommerce, Human Capital, EMEA, Aon

Know the Workforce Demographic

Knowing what skills are already available in an organization is important for workforce resilience, but so understanding the workforce demographic and making sure talent decisions are not based on unconscious bias or inaccurate and subjective perceptions. Surveying the workforce directly is important to find out what employees really need and value.

Employees now have different needs than they did five to ten years ago. While the modern workforce may look very different, the benefit packages — health insurance, life assurance and pensions — remain mostly the same. Providing help for physical, mental and financial wellbeing will not only provide a point of differentiation for an EVP, but it will help promote workforce resilience.

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Consider having a signature benefit within your EVP — for example, cover for cancer, a particular health condition, or mental health. Something that will stand out in the employee market.”

Andrew Cunningham
Vice President, Global Benefits, Aon

Of course, workforce resilience is also about employees having a career plan and feeling aligned to an organization’s vision and culture. Ultimately, it’s important for luxury brands to project the same values externally as are reflected internally for employees. This is especially as sustainability and diversity, equity and inclusion make their way into the benefits arena.

Want to learn more about the latest key trends and issues impacting the luxury goods industry? Download our Designing a Sustainable Future for the Fashion and Luxury Goods Industry paper.

General Disclaimer

The information contained herein and the statements expressed are of a general nature and are not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information and use sources we consider reliable, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.

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The contents herein may not be reproduced, reused, reprinted or redistributed without the expressed written consent of Aon, unless otherwise authorized by Aon. To use information contained herein, please write to our team.

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