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Luxury – the mere mention of the word draws in images of glamorous cars, fashionable models, well dressed women, all ingredients of a high flying and fast paced lifestyle! However,luxury in India trails back to the era of Raja’s and Maharajas. Over the years, the country has grown and evolved in many ways and so has the luxury aspirations of the people of the country. With the opening of the economy, increased purchasing power and ambition of living life king size, the luxury sector in India is experiencing a sudden boom. Even though the sector records a slow and steady growth, the pattern is surely an upward moving graph. As per a report by AT Kearney, the current market size is $15 bn and is estimated to touch$18 bn by 2017. Also projected is the fact that a quarter of the luxury market will be between India and China by then. This booming industry also opens up new avenues for young energetic enthusiasts to enjoy a career that is recession proof. Today luxury has seeped into every aspect of our lifestyles. Automobiles; fashion; travel; tourism; health and wellness; hospitality & fine dining; aviation; medical tourism; watches &jewelry; home & interiors; technology & hybrid – all are affected by the so-called luxury phenomenon. Further segmentation of the phenomenon has resulted in premium – accessible – aspiration – core luxury, thereby increasing the need gap in the talent pie. India is all set to encounter this gigantic growth in Luxury, the question arises: does India have the required human resources to handle it? The current Luxury Market accounts for 10% of total India Retail. The National Skill Development Corporation projects the total retail human resource requirement by 2022 will be approximately 17.8 million. Bearing this equation in mind, we can roughly estimate that by 2022, the total manpower required to handle Luxury brands and services in India will be around 1.76 million head counts. And the opening up of FDI in Mono Brand Retail in India may further surge this requirement much earlier than 2022. Further, according to research report “The Status of Luxury Talent in India” by Luxury Connect, it has been found that the existing Manpower Lacks in Professional Luxury Expertise and at times unable to maintain the standards of a Luxury Brand. The Indian market is already in shortage of skilled personnel that has exposure or dedicated knowledge in Luxury. This has resulted in a drill down effect, where opportunities are many but supply is less, further resulting in a high employee turnover rate. At Kearney, has recognized Luxury Connect as one of very few organizations focusing on talent management. So what are the typical career opportunities in the Luxury Space?? What is a likely progression path that a young inductee could follow?? Like any other consumer business, any luxury product has roles in the front end and the back end. Managerial roles typically could be in the fields of marketing; communications; research; logistics; merchandising; banking & finance; design; manufacturing etc. The front-end roles which act as the customer touch point areas would include sales consultants; sales supervisors; store managers etc. What are the personality traits that this industry looks for?? Working for a luxury brand requires a certain attitude. One has to be well educated, well behaved, always look good and have a passion for excellence. One needs to know and like the products one sells. Promoting them has to be something one enjoys. Advising someone on what to wear requires creativity and imagination. Besides, one needs to develop good inter-relational skills- one will spend your days interacting with people so one better inspire confidence. Being a good listener and having customer service awareness is the most important. Having a strong personality is also mandatory as one will be working for customers with strong personalities. A brand wants people with ambition, determination & a career drive, besides loving their job. People with strong academic background are always preferred so do not neglect studies. Mastering two languages including English will always give you an edge. Most famous fashion brands are international & one may need to interact with people in other countries. Since Luxury brand management involves a high level of customer interaction, those with a natural flair for networking especially with the corporate class and the ability to build up a rapport with key decision makers will do well for themselves in this industry. Luxury houses posses zero tolerance for anything that is below average or of low quality. Thus it is essential for an individual working in this field to set a high standard of maintaining good quality customer relations and efficient time management skills. It is essential for luxury brand managers to be in love with their product and believe that the company offers a value addition in terms of status and elegance to its client. A luxury brand manager who assumes the role of a mentor can spearhead the transformation of and merging luxury brand into a dominant market player. With the ever burgeoning retail sector and the myriad number of international brands entering or expanding their base in India, there is a considerable need for trained professionals in the luxury retail & service sector. Abhay Gupta, Founder and CEO Luxury Connect Business School
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