Companies rushing to hire in the virtual world are less keen to hire for those roles because they face a very real potential recession.
Citing a study by workplace consultancy firm Revelio across the board, Bloomberg reported that job ads with the word “metaverse” in the title fell 81% between April and June. Fashion is no exception: while brands are still launching a lot of web3 and metaverse projects, it seems that public enthusiasm has waned along with the price of NFT and cryptocurrency.
Fashion brands still often rely on outside partners to build virtual storefronts and fashion shows. But as more companies—Puma, Adidas, Kenzo, and Gucci among them—create channels for brands on Discord, a messaging platform popular with early users of web3, there may be employee needs below the line for roles like community managers and, ultimately, some Virtual salespeople, experts say.
But these days, the priority in hiring is roles that will help companies navigate uncertainty in the near term, whether that is dealing with supply chain crises, new environmental regulations, or shifting demands from socially conscious consumers.
Once a rarity in fashion, diversity and inclusion managers and environmental, social and governance consultants are growing areas, especially in large companies. More traditional positions in the supply chain and human resources are developing rapidly.
said Lisa Botkos, partner at Hanold Associates and head of its retail and luxury goods practice.
Here, BoF breaks down the fashion functions that are in demand at the moment.
Environmental, Social and Governance Compliance (or ESG)
For most of the past two decades, ESG has been an increasingly important but vaguely defined topic. Each company had its own ideas about how to prioritize matters related to its environmental impact and human rights.
Governments in North America and Europe are introducing a growing number of laws aimed at curbing abusive practices in the fashion supply chain and putting real teeth behind environmental standards. In the United States, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), which took effect in June, bans goods made from forced labor in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region from entering the United States. In the UK, the watchdog’s Competition and Markets Authority in July launched an investigation into the sustainability claims made by fast fashion brands Boohoo and Asos and clothing brand George for British supermarket chain Asda.
Sarah Orr, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Chicago who specializes in environmental, social and governance issues, said fashion brands are scrambling to hire lawyers for their in-house teams specializing in areas such as international law and environmental regulation.
Whether inside or outside the company, legal advisors can advise on ESG reporting and disclosure requirements, perform litigation risk analysis, help guide the response to shareholder activity, and can identify potential human rights issues or environmental risks in the supply chain. Orr said companies looking to enhance their ESG expertise are also adding key people in human resources, communications, marketing and other areas to address the legal team’s recommendations.
Currently, Authentic Brands Group, parent company of Nautica and Juicy Couture, is hiring an ESG Director (per LinkedIn), PVH Corp needs a Senior Director of ESG Communications (according to their job position) and Saks Fifth Avenue is recruiting for sustainability BSc in Environmental Studies (per LinkedIn).
Supply Chain and Logistics
Ongoing port crises, product shortages, economic and geopolitical tensions as well as inflated consumer expectations about express shipping have helped put the supply chain – and the combination of logistical roles, assortment and operations that underpin the function – high on the fashion companies’ list of priorities.
“I can’t think of a more important role right now than supply chain heads and COOs,” said Inna Kuznetsova, CEO of ToolsGroup, a global supply chain planning and optimization company.
Nordstrom hired its first supply chain CEO early last year, Revlon hired a new CSCO amid crises in 2021 and the Away brand added its first chief operating officer that same year. All three companies indicated the need to put the heft of C-suite behind the growing challenges of logistics.
“Previously, when stores were the main driver of retail sales, supply chains were more of a back-office job,” said Kyle Rudy, senior partner at executive recruitment firm Kirk Palmer Associates. Globalization and…