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UK fashion industry will require 60,000 new tech roles by 2020

Some 60,000 new digital and analytical roles will be urgently required in fashion by 2020, according to a new report, which says that the rise of digital shopping channels is creating demand for these new jobs.

The research, which was conducted by OC&C Strategy Consultants on behalf of the Fashion Retail Academy to determine the future for fashion retail recruitment, suggested that over half of UK retailers are already struggling to fill the roles required.

Sought-after roles will predominantly be in head office – where the report suggests there is an urgent need for better analytical and technically skilled workers. These job positions cover areas such as customer insight, digital content creation as well as CRM management and systems analysis.

OC&C found that one of the key drivers of the change is the adoption of social media channels to buy and engage with fashion, with the report showing that 58% of 18- to 24-year-olds purchase clothing based on seeing peers wearing an item on social media and 72% report an appetite for shopping directly from social platforms.

UK retailers are reportedly expecting to spend 22% of their overall marketing budget on social media in the next five years, compared to an average 9% now. In addition, over a quarter of retailers in the UK believing social media will significantly change their business model by 2020.

In an attempt to counter this reported skills gap, the Fashion Retail Academy is launching a new initiative to inspire the next generation to pursue careers in fashion retail.

Lee Lucas, a principal at the Fashion Retail Academy, commented: “The fashion industry is becoming increasingly complex, requiring higher calibre skills than ever before.

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