Retail firms are aligning diversity and inclusion goals with their hiring strategies to boost productivity and bring multicultural values into the organization. This industry-wide trend is gaining traction as the talent-gap in new-age technologies like AI, Cloud & Advanced Analytics is widening.
Across the retail value chain, the demand for these next–generation skills is being met with various hiring strategies. However, without sound intelligence on talent availability across locations and smart hiring roadmaps, companies are struggling to meet their diversity goals, especially in the US.
We launched a systematic assessment to understand the ethnic diversity in retail across top US locations and analyzed how reskilling can help achieve diversity & inclusion goals.
Diversity Across Job Roles In Top Retail Hotspots
The gain a clearer picture, the 100+ job roles we analyzed were split into three categories:
- Core jobs – Merchandise management, Supply chain management, etc.
- Tech jobs – Cloud, Software development, AI/Machine Learning, etc.
- Front office jobs – Customer service, Sales, Marketing, etc.
Out of 1.8+ Million analyzed talent pool in retail, the presence of underrepresented minorities in fast–growing tech jobs is lowest compared to Core and front office jobs. Hispanic and African American ethnicities counted for only 11% and 8% respectively of the total 110,000 tech talent pool.
This worrying statistic should indeed be a cause for concern. Retailers looking to hire for diversity should seriously take into account the diversity of talent available to them at a target location before setting up centers.
Our analysis revealed that among MSAs, Los Angeles, Bay Area, Atlanta Area, and Miami Area have the best diversity with high availability of retail talent pool (>10,000) in core and tech job clusters.
The Greater Los Angeles area was found to have the best ethnic diversity amongst tier 1 locations for Core as well as Tech job clusters with Hispanics (23%) and African Americans (16%) enjoying marginally better representation in tech jobs here.
Diversity In Emerging Location: Atlanta Deep Dive
Atlanta Area is one of the emerging and fastest–growing retail location due to the presence of several retail giants in the region. With many recent investments by retail giants, Atlanta is one of the growing hotspots with the highest presence of African Americans employed in the retail segment.
While underrepresented minorities have a relatively higher presence in Core jobs, this trend is the opposite in the tech cluster. In high-demand roles like AI/Machine learning, for example, the presence of minorities; Asian (24%), Hispanic (7%), African American (12%) has a lot of scope for improvement.
Considering how Atlanta is home to several HBCUs and even has a somewhat diverse university ecosystem, it should be relatively easy to hire to diversity in this location.
Reskilling Strategies To Boost Diversity
Underrepresented minorities are highly concentrated in front–office job clusters which are getting disrupted due to the advent of digitalization in Retail firms. We estimate about 50% of talent becoming redundant in the near future as automation picks up.
High minority presence roles like Customer Support & Store Associate are already being replaced with their digital equivalents.
On the other hand, minorities have the lowest presence in digital job roles and digitally-enabled core jobs that are in high demand for Retail firms.
Reskilling can be a great alternative for Retail firms to train underrepresented minorities in front office jobs (higher presence but vulnerable to disruption) to high demand job roles (lowest presence of minority). This helps enterprises improve the diversity distribution across desired critical job clusters.
Reskilling Roadmap For Building Sustainable Career Paths
To present our case for reskilling, we performed a sample exercise for the “In-Store Sales Associate” job role.
The target job role we chose was Inventory Analyst, a role that requires data analysis, database handling, inventory forecasting, and ERP skills.
By identifying their existing skill set, we propose certification in Supply Chain Fundamentals: Inventory Management & Supply Chain Analytics Specialization (Coursera) as optimal study paths.
With these courses, they will acquire Inventory forecasting, ERP tools, Database handling, data analysis and visualization skills.
Using our proprietary Draup for Talent platform, talent managers get access to dashboards from where they can perform a similar analysis for their minority talent. Draup uses Machine learning models to perform prior analysis and can replicate it on a broader level for any job roles/skills across functions.
The Reskilling Navigator, combined with the Diversity Navigator tool, allows workforce planners to comprehensively manage and ensure that their enterprise diversity goals are met.