Gains in Retail

Macy’s exec points to diverse industry job opportunities

William Hawthorne, VP of diversity strategies and legal affairs at Macy’s

As the economy struggles to provide job opportunities to the millions of Americans out of work, retail offers some promise as a job segment poised for substantial growth in the next decade. Employment in the retail trade is expected to grow by 12%, with 1.8 million new jobs from 2010 to 2020, and more than half of the 1.9 million jobs in sales will occur in retail, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The growth of new economies in emerging markets and of technology will provide new and global opportunities in a range of areas from customer service and human resources to retail management. But consumer spending is also up. Retailers posted a 4% increase in sales since May of last year.


Technology with an emphasis on customer service has helped drive sales for Macy’s Inc., which saw a 43% increase during this year’s first quarter to $6.143 billion. Strategies such as omnichannel integration, which strives to provide a seamless and more engaged approach for customers who shop in store, online, or on a mobile device, and partnerships with FiftyOne Global, a third-party e-commerce solution that connects the brand to more than 90 countries worldwide, will provide broad employment opportunities, says William Hawthorne, vice president of diversity strategies and legal affairs at Macy’s. Here, he offers insight on where they expect to source talent.

Where does Macy’s see job growth opportunities for minorities beyond sales?
A company like Macy’s needs the most sophisticated talent in every aspect of our business from merchandising to marketing, store management, operations, human resources, finance, legal, etc.

In the areas of purchasing managers, buyers, and purchasing agents, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that job growth over the next 10 years will be about 7%. Are there other areas that prospective retail professionals should consider?
As Macy’s grows our omnichannel initiatives, we will also grow the talent to support this strategy. We are seeking experts in technical areas such as programming, digital marketing, merchandise analytics, and system analysts as well as growing talent pipelines for those business units that support this strategy such as supply chain, logistics, operations, etc. We are committed to the success of omnichannel and invested in hiring the right talent to drive all areas that drive our technical strategy.

As many people are transitioning across industries, are there certain skill sets that are transferable to retail?
At Macy’s, we have employees who come from many different professional experiences, some with vast retail experience and others with little to no previous retail experience. They each bring with them a unique set of skills that enhance, challenge, and inspire our business. Some positions require excellent leadership skills while others require excellent analytical abilities. Macy’s is seeking outstanding talent across many areas of our business that require a wide range of unique skills.

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