Thursday, 17 October 2013

Specialised courses in retail: Need of the hour

As 51% foreign direct investment in multi brand retail is allowed, many industry experts feels that this would create 40,000-50,000 jobs in India soon. More foreign entry in this sector will help in getting the retail industry more organised. Skilled manpower will be required to fulfil this demand. And hence, more and more professionals with detailed knowledge in retail will be required.
The Indian retail industry would grow in the organised sector at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 23% to 25% between 2008 and 2022, thereby increasing in size from Rs 96,500 crore (US$ 19 billion) in 2008 and clocking Rs 17,36,000 crore (US$ 347 to 350 billion ) in 2022. (Times of India, May 28, 2012).Government as well as industry has also recognised this upcoming need.
Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has introduced a retail course under the vocational stream at the senior secondary level from the academic session 2012-13. Future Innoversity, an initiative by future group, also offers programmes like BBA in retail services, courses in retail management and the supply chain.
There are about 45 colleges in India providing retail courses (source: Wellingkar Institute of Management Development & Research, NMIMS, SP Jain, Retail Association of India, Indian Retail School, ITM, the Synthetic & Art Silk Mills’ Research Association, NIIT Imperia and Birla Institute of Management Technology etc. are few among the various reputed institutes which provide specialized courses in retail. Earlier retail was covered under the curriculum of marketing only. But now, it is taught as a full fledge course. These colleges offer courses like visual merchandising, store operations and supply chain. The students get placed in big retail houses.
With time the Indian economy has improved and so the retail sector. It is the second largest employment provider in the country after agriculture. Foreign brands have already started exploring Indian market and with the ease in entry barriers many more will come to the country. Today’s youth is very broad minded and quite opportunistic as well. They are well versed with these developments and are willing to pursue a career in retail. The success of courses in retail is a proof of how much willing is today’s youth to work in modern retail sector.
In an interview with Business Standard dated 16th Oct’2013, Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO of RAI said, “There are adequate retail courses available in India. However, they would have to be tweaked and have newer versions in the coming time. They will have to be sharper in their course curriculum to meet the industry needs, because there are new retailers coming in with solid years of experience.”
Mr Barkat Charania, CEO of Beyond Talent Management stated, “If we say that specialised courses in retail are the need of the hour, then we must also say that those courses should be relevant to today’s modern retail environment. The career in retail is now quite rewarding but it is very demanding as well. Hence, the students have to be taught not only about retail, but there is a need to develop an attitude as well towards it. For e.g.: Working on weekends and public holidays may not suit everyone. There is a huge gap between demand and quality manpower supply in retail. Firms are more specifically looking for manpower which understands retail business. Therefore, the institutes can play a big role in filling this gap with skilled manpower.”
The various courses offered in retail are:
·         Front Office Management
·         Inventory Management
·         Merchandising Management
·         Shop floor Management
·         Store Management
·         Supply Chain Management
The duration of the courses ranges from 6months to 2 years (Source: A person can opt from a certificate course to full time post graduate degree courses.

The retail sector is expanding leaps and bounds in India. The entry of foreign players has not only improved the competition but has also led the race for hiring best talent. The prospects from career point of view in retail are looking very promising and therefore specific retail related courses will be in demand among youth.

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