Sunday, February 11, 2007

Retailers look for talent in rural areas

The severe shortage of retail talent is pushing retail companies for talent in rural areas. As yet there are no details on exactly how many people will be required, but with the way retailers are expanding, the requirement is sure to be quite large. In general, a 50,000 sq ft store requires at least 250 people to run it, while 10 people will be required to run a small food and grocery supermarket. The bulk of the HR requirements will be needed by the country's two largest retailers, Reliance and Future Group. Reliance Retail alone is planning to have an estimated 100 million sq ft of space by the year 2010-11 and the Future Group is planning to double its 30,000 headcount by next year. Future Group has preferred to select employees from the local population due to language and customer preferences. The company has reportedly been recruiting for talent in the North-East where knowledge of English is good, for its New Delhi and Mumbai stores.

The Livelihood Advancement Business Schools (LABS) have also been instrumental in providing employees to retailers. These schools are run by Dr Reddy’s Foundation, which trains rural based poor high school students in basic employable skills. Some of the companies who have already selected employees from LABS are McDonald’s, Big Bazaar and Reliance Fresh. Call centers middle level employees who have good customer service and English skills and do not want to work night shifts are also a great source of recruiting talent for retailers.

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