Hoping to get a job at Hermès? Don’t hold your breath. At least not as long as COVID-19 wreaks havoc around the world. According to @voguebusiness, available job listings at luxury fashion houses dropped by about half since spring 2020. In this case, Hermès was no exception. @voguebusiness illustrated the steep decline in the number of job postings by Dior and Hermès, down 54% and 50%, respectively.
On the one hand, there are still some jobs available. Otherwise, the job postings would be down by closer to 100%. However, this statistic doesn’t reflect the spate of job eliminations due to COVID-19 and months of stalled or suspended sales. As to those looking for employment, many brands enacted hiring freezes and put searches on hold, at least for now. For those available jobs, there is a shift in the areas of employment. With the increase in online sales activity, not surprisingly, hiring needs relate to e-commerce and require digital and data skills.
The reduced or eliminated luxury retail jobs are entry-level, retail and production positions, reports @voguebusiness. Boutiques don’t need as many staff if they are closed or on limited hours. Social distancing requires minimizing headcount. Fewer new employees generally likely affects younger potential hires the most. If the strategy holds, it reflects the predicted shift in consumer behavior.
What really caught our attention, though, is the reduction in production and the effect on supply, particularly regarding Hermès. H aficionados already complain of too much demand chasing too few Birkins and Kellys. At least in the United States, right now, Hermès stores present very low bag inventory and few shipments. If production is limited, that could mean even fewer of our favorite handbags. In a classic (and basic) economic model, that translates to higher prices.
In a similar vein, a shift to online or appointment-based shopping impacts how we purchase those coveted bags. No one expects to see Birkins and Kellys on the Hermès website. Perhaps we will only go to the boutique when called to pick up a desired bag. Absent a strong relationship with the brand or a sales associate – in other words being a super VIP – the ability to purchase a B or K seems even more limited.
Furthermore, the years spent cultivating relationships worldwide with your favorite Hermès associates could be upended. No one knows who will continue at the store – whether by choice or not. Surely, commissioned employees experience a measure of financial pain with limited hours and product.
What are your thoughts?