Until a few months ago, the organised retail industry had been attracting young talent. However, faced with high levels of stress and the lack of a proper career plan, many young professionals are leaving the industry.
The industry is losing talent to the better paying hospitality and business process outsourcing (BPO) sectors, and witnessing an average attrition rate of 20-25 per cent, according to industry sources.
“The retail store employees have to go through a lot of mental stress and have to make some sacrifices as this business goes on 365 days a year,” said Shashikanth SS, president-manpower of Chennai-based retail chain Subhiksha that is now fast expanding into other places. The attrition rate at Subhiksha is 5 per cent per annum, he said.
Fatter salaries offered by business process outsourcing firms has been particularly painful. BPOs are also luring away a lot of executives working at the front-end.
“The attrition rate has also gone up from 1-2 per cent per month levels in 2001 to 5 per cent per month today. High salaries in the BPO space is partly responsible for this,” said Govind Shrikhande, CEO, Shoppers’ Stop. The Mumbai-based retail chain employs 3,400 employees at the front end and 300 employees at the back-end. Recruiting firms, however, feel that poor working conditions in the retail industry is the culprit, especially at the back-end. “Low salaries, inadequate training, and bad work conditions are the reasons for the high rate of attrition,” said Kris Lakshmikanth, CEO, Head Hunters India, a recruitment firm that specialises in retail.
Entry-level salaries for employees in retail sector is in the range of Rs 3,000-4,800 per month, according to industry estimates. In comparison, entry-level employees in the BPO sector earn an average of Rs 15,000 a month.