View Point

The Changing Scenario of Management Education in India
Prof. C. S. Venkataratnam, Member, FICCI Higher Education Committee & Director, IMI, New Delhi
Ms Shobha Mishra,
Joint Director & Team Leader, Education & Health Services Division, FICCI
AcademiaArticle: Towards a successful career
path: MBA in Retail Management
Article: Art & ManagementPersonality Development Current AffairsCampus NewsGD Topics

Paucity of talent in retail management in India

Alka Kaul

Indian retail industry because of its rapid transformation, is gradually moving from a traditional unorganised retail sector dominated by small retailers and convenience stores towards a modern organised retail market of malls and supermarkets along with the entry of leading Indian retail companies along with the global retail majors.

Organized retail today accounts for less than 5 per cent of India’s retail business, but is bound to grow, forcing choices on the government, and upon itself. Last year’s big squeeze, both on consumer spending and store numbers, had put certain question marks on retail business in India, but the major players have taken it as an opportunity for the makeover required in Indian context.

In India, our retail sector is finding huge growth and many global players are entering the market. So there is a tough competition among the companies, and our retail sector is in need of huge talent to compete with them. The original concept of ‘customers first and employee second’ is being replaced with ‘employee first and customer second’. There are a lot of problems in the India's retail front. It has been taking lot of time to achieve the excellence. Key factors are: Insufficient training for the retail staff; Lack of customer understanding; loop-holes in supply chain and high retail theft.

Head of Wal-Mart’s Indian operations, Raj Jain has admitted the stores are confronting issues like securing real estate and procuring talented staff specially trained and experienced in retail management.

He added that the major challenge faced by the company is talent, both finding it and keeping it, given the buoyancy in the Indian economy. The joint venture has a team of about 100 employees, and expects to have up to 400 employees by the end of year 2010, excluding store employees.

Some of the reasons for this paucity are organized retail is just in the entry phase in India, people are not experienced in organized retail, education support for retail training is negligible, people perceptions are unprofessional for retailing as career.

The industry has learned that it needs a clear model for retail and growth has to be backed by the right infrastructure, thus has restructured the investments for the profitable returns after several quarters of losses, during meltdown.

The need for the talent is still unanswered. Certain initiatives have been taken by private players to provide special courses like MBA in retail management or by including retail management as a vertical in their curriculum. This will probably cater to the need of industry up to certain extent.

The author is Director, Global School of Business, Delhi.