Careers in the luxury industry: Can you make the cut?
India’s luxury market in India is growing at a steady pace and is currently valued at US$18.5 billion and growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25 % as per the NITI Aayogeducation Updated: Nov 23, 2017 13:03 IST
Gone are the days when the only respected career paths were either engineering or medicine or management. With the growing need to find one’s passion and a job that closely aligns with their lifestyle and personality, people have started experimenting more with career options, paving way to newer avenues. India is witnessing a surge in alternate job opportunities and a range of uniquely designed courses to enable the youth to take up career options in industries that suit their aptitudes and interests. One such industry which has recently grown at an impressive rate in India is the luxury industry.
The luxury market in India is growing at a steady pace and is currently valued at US$18.5 billion and growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25 % as per the NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog. A Euromonitor International report says the country’s luxury market is expected to grow by 86% in constant value terms between 2016 and 2019. The report also says that the luxury market has the right potential to reach more than US$100 billion in the next seven to eight years. National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) projects that the total retail human resource requirement by 2022 will be approximately 17.8 million. Bearing this equation in mind, the report estimates is that by 2022, the total manpower required to handle luxury brands and services in India will be around 1.76 million head counts.
This leaves a huge requirement for skilled talent that is specially groomed and trained for the industry. Jobs in the luxury industry come with an aspirational value and offer a higher level of gratification even at an entry level. However, finding the right talent for this niche industry is a challenge, since the requirement is not just about skills but also about personality, exposure and comfort in associating with the luxe lifestyle. This has resulted in a drill down effect, where opportunities are abundant for a pool that seems to be drying up. Moreover, it’s never easy to be a part of a very demanding industry where the pressure to maintain the ‘premiumness’ of a brand is extremely high, further resulting in a high employee turnover rate.
It is here that Mercedes-Benz as a brand recognised this skill gap and has dedicated most attention and investment on education and training of the employees, to ensure that the skilled workforce can deliver high value to the customers. Our HQ develops programmes to train the staff and also those in other worldwide markets to impart the brand values and educate the staff on the brand image and expectations. Here, our PPP model like the unique advanced diploma in automotive mechatronics (ADAM) course with various government engineering colleges and ITIs have been beneficial to the students who aspire for a career in automotive industry and also to the various organisations that have employed these pass outs. Most recently we extended the footprints of our ADAM course to Delhi by signing a MoU with Govt. of Delhi, NCT and BB Pant Institute.
Given the amount a customer invests in owning a luxury product or experience, the expectations are always around exclusivity and premium service quality, with no space for lapse in service excellence. In an industry where service is paramount, players in the luxury segment look out for new talent who have an eye for perfection, have excellent communication skills to hold engaging conversations with people and have a personality that can charm customers. The job role of the employees in this field requires knowledge and understanding of the latest trends in the industry. However, having inherent knowledge about the field is not enough, employees need to be trained to have business acumen and technical expertise as well. The workforce needs to have comprehensive technical knowledge to ensure supreme quality and value to the customers. In this industry, small details matter, from body language to communication skills, since selling luxury needs to be subtle, thus, the training is largely inclined towards soft-skill development. Luxury industry operates in a highly competitive global context where innovation is the key factor of differentiation.
A career in the luxury industry can be rewarding if supported with the correct training and grooming in specialised institutes to kick-start the journey. Pass outs from these training institutes are measured with their counterparts from around the world. The luxury industry paves way to better quality services and provides customers with superlative ownership experience. Here again, training from reputed brands aids in developing technical and social confidence and allows the employees to communicate with the high demands of customers, effectively. The luxury industry is making a social transformation in India that is beneficial to the country as a whole by taking standards higher.
The high standards of working conditions and job opportunities are, in turn, positively affecting the standards of living of the nation and there is no doubt that the luxury industry, owing to its very nature in developing skills and talent for India, is slowly becoming the sunrise sector of India.
The author is MD and CEO of Mercedes-Benz India
First Published: Nov 20, 2017 12:48 IST