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Alvanon Reveal A ‘War for Talent’ Across the Supply Chain


As leading providers of fashion production skills and apprenticeships news of a skills shortage throughout the manufacturing side of the fashion industry comes as no surprise. Since setting up The Factory in 2010 we soon realized how vast the skills shortage was which led to the development of the Stitching Academy and Fashion Technology Academy.

Jenny Holloway CEO of Fashion Enter Ltd and its affiliated companies comments: “We recognised the apparent skills shortage after we opened The Factory in North London eight years ago. Thanks to Nick Beighton, CEO of ASOS.com, he too realised that without investment in technical skills there was no future for a UK Factory especially when the Brexit vote in June 2016 occurred.

“Along with skilled stitchers we desperately needed pattern cutters, CAD operators, Cutters and QC’s, hence the Fashion Technology Academy (FTA) was born. Without ASOS and Haringey Council we could not have opened the FTA, and it’s this industry and governmental support the fashion sector needs across the board. Our colleges and Universities are producing fashion designers in their thousands and yet many don’t even understand how to put a garment together or have seen the garment production process – from design idea to finished item ready for the shop floor. This is clearly wrong and the latest Alvanon report clearly reveals gaping holes that need attention in order for our industry to work effectively.”

Alvanon keenly highlight the industry skills gap issue in their latest report released 4th October 2018. Their research saw them partner with 13 leading apparel organizations to survey professionals throughout the fashion industry on the skills gaps, learning and talent development needs within the apparel sector. And now the results are available in The State of Skills in the Apparel Industry 2018’ a special report, that represents the views of 642 executives, HR leaders, industry practitioners and employees across the international supply chain.

According to the survey report, one of the biggest issues facing brands and vendors is hiring people with the right skills, with 62% of respondents saying they are struggling to fill certain positions. The data further shows that respondents are largely unhappy with the training being provided, and 30% are actively dissatisfied.

Some businesses are likening hiring to a battle, with Sarah McConnell Hays, sourcing manager at childrenswear retailer Carter’s saying: “We are in a war for talent.” The report states that the imperatives for business now include figuring out how to engage employees and provide professional development, or risk losing them.

As the apparel industry begins to recognise and implement digitalisation as a way of delivering on speed, customisation and transparency, it is revealing gaps in the specialized skills set of its workforce,” explained Janice Wang, CEO of Alvanon. “Our survey findings conclude that failure to respond to skill shortages will result in the generalisation of poor market practices and adversely impact business performance across the supply chain.”

She added, “Improving the apparel industry by upping its skills is, ultimately, a collective responsibility shared between all players in the value chain and the individual professionals themselves. This survey clearly shows where we need to start and that we need to start immediately.”

The survey is part of Alvanon’s ongoing efforts to address the training and development needs of the apparel industry worldwide. This report aims to highlight labour force challenges faced by the industry and prompt readers to question their own company’s state of affairs in terms of training and strategy or lack of it. The 642 respondents comprised one-third of workers from North America, one-third Asia Pacific, one-fourth Central & South America, the rest from Europe and others.

 Below are summary statistics on respondents:

Total Respondents: 1221

Total Completed Surveys: 642

Country Representation: USA (22%), Colombia (16%), UK (5%), Canada (7%), HK (8%), India (8%), Rest of the World (34%)

Language Respondents: English (72%), Spanish (22%), Chinese (4%), French (2%)

Manager Level or Above: (64%) (CEO Level: 16%)

Age Breakdown: 45+Years (47%), 36-45 years (31%), 26-35 years (19%), 18-25 years (3%)

Click here to download the free Alvanon State of Skills report.



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