Want a career in the luxury sector?

Gabriela Planas. Associate Director. IE Business School Careers Management Center

12 June 2013

The luxury sector is currently reinventing itself and growing fast, bringing excellent job opportunities for people who understand this market.

The luxury market moves around €213 billion worldwide every year. Growth is currently based mainly in the Asia-pacific region, and the sector is expected to have a turnover of €250 billion per annum between 2013 and 2015. These figures are leading many professionals to consider a career in the luxury industry.

In terms of world regions, China’s consumers are transforming the market now that Chinese tourists have taken to spending lavishly. Spending on consumer goods and luxury goods is increasingly interlinked and the Chinese market has just overtaken that of Japan, although it is still behind the US, which is the world’s biggest spender in the luxury goods market.

The sector is in the process of reinventing itself on a grand scale. Traditional strategies employed previously by big names are changing. Clients are now more demanding, and have more sophisticated tastes. This fact, coupled with generational changes, is transforming the luxury market, as confirmed recently by Diego Vilariño, Director of HR at Grupo Richemont, in the course of a round table on recruitment trends in the sector held recently at IE Business School. In the same event, Javier Alonso, Director of Human Resources for Loewe, underscored the importance of product-based value creation, not just from a marketing perspective. “For those professionals who come from other sectors, it is possible to make such a career change, but one has to be realistic when it comes to comparing a candidate’s strengths with the realities that the company has to offer.”

With regard to career development, experts agree that the most important thing is to be passionate about luxury and the universe that surrounds luxury brands. Jaime Fernandez de la Vega, Director of Human Resources at L’Oréal (Luxe Division) explained in the same round table that the demand for experts in business management with a clear business vision is key in a sector that is becoming increasingly professionalized, and more demanding. “There are many common competences when it comes to selecting talent, but it is also true that there are specific competences that are particularly important in the sector, such as having a heightened sense of esthetic and artistic factors, and having a taste for and paying a special attention to detail.”

Fernando Maudo, General Manager of Vente-Privee.com, explained how E-commerce is continuing to grow in the sector at a rate of 25% per annum, and there is a tendency to integrate online and offline experiences to provide the client with better services. “There is no longer any doubt that e-commerce is an essential tool to position and distribute fashion and luxury products. In order to sell on the internet, it is not enough to show the public the product, you have to know how to transmit emotion. 

In short, the luxury sector is going through a phase of intense growth which brings numerous career opportunities, but it is absolutely necessary to feel passionate about the world of luxury, and know how the sector works. Candidates will need to approach such a career move by selling themselves as a “luxury product” to the “client”, namely the recruiter.

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