According to management consultants Technopak Advisors there are 400 malls across India now and by 2010 there are expected to be 500.
Mumbai currently has 15 malls and a further 45 are under construction.
With that explosion comes the creation of new jobs and one job where there is a dearth of talent is that of the mall manager.
The mall manager’s job is like the business head: he has to make sure the mall makes a profit. This is done by renting out space to shops and renting out space for special promotions. It is also his responsibility to ensure the mall attracts footfall and that customers keep coming back. He has to be creative and not just advertise the mall but hold interesting events inside. He also has to build relationships with tenants, with vendors such as housekeeping and with customers.
“There is a dearth of mall managers in India,” admits Sanjay Prabhu, manager of Inorbit Mall, Malad, one of the largest malls in India. “Malls are springing up in all shapes and sizes, making it a career option to be looked at. It is a promising career as the business is booming, due to the increase in people’s demands. Plus malls are becoming more like community centres where people can spend time in clean, hygienic places with their families. And most malls have multiplexes and food courts as well as shopping making it a complete experience for the family.”
He added there was a lack of well trained personnel to work as mall managers. "It is like running a five star hotel so we like to recruit from the hospitality sector though we are open to eligible staff from other sectors.
"We prefer graduates with good customer service and management skills. One also needs to be articulate and think of your feet.”
Other skills required to work in mall management are leadership skills, being a team-player, open-mindedness, management experience, media skills, good at relationship building, proficiency in spoken English and sound interpersonal skills.
“I would like to see more women enter this line,” Prabhu added, “as they are intrinsically people’s persons and apt for this industry.
Highlighting the problems in the industry he said: “There is a lack of trained people in India who know how to enhance the mall experience. It’s far more labour intensive than working in a call centre. Also malls, like all modern retail, are being held back by excessive real estate prices so developers are concentrating on Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.”
Suits: Work-hard play-hard, not conservative people
How to climb ladder:
Come up with innovative ideas that enhance the customer experience and add to revenues of the mall; good decision-making; good people management
Six days working week and long hours
You get to travel overseas to see how malls operate
Malls Career structure
Management trainee/customer experience exec - (graduates only) – four lakhs – interacting with customer
Assistant Floor manager – four to five lakhs -manage a floor
Manager of operations - (must be an MBA) - six to ten lakhs
Mall manager – (must be MBA) - 15 lakhs plus
To Regional head of several malls (unlimited)
To Vice President (unlimited)
To CEO (unlimited)